WATCH: Bobby backs plan to tackle sewage dumping

17 Mar 2024
Bobby Conf

Bobby Dean, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Carshalton and Wallington, backed plans to clean up Britain’s waterways in a speech at the Liberal Democrat conference.

Speaking in a debate on sewage dumping, Bobby called out the Conservatives for failing to hold water companies to account, and backed plans that would call for the introduction of a Sewage Tax on water company profits to fund the cleanup of waterways, while also giving citizens more power to hold water companies directly accountable.

Sewage has been dumped into the local River Wandle on multiple occasions in the last year, with Bobby calling for the Thames Water price hike to be scrapped until action is taken.

You can watch the speech from 1:10:10 below, or read it in full.

I live right by the River Wandle, a precious local chalk stream, and I recently collaborated with a local film crew to make a documentary about the river.

It was fascinating learning about it’s history. How after the industrial revolution it was so over-worked it was officially declared a sewer and all the good work that’s been done since to get it back to good health.

But that good health is under threat once again by sewage dumping. Others have already explained this scandal well, so what I want to focus on is just how they’ve gotten away with it.


If you are a water company who sees its service is to ensure clean water runs through our taps at home, then you will do almost anything regulation allows to maximise profit outside of that.

Why would investors seeking to make short-term returns be bothered about the sorts of long-term investments that are only likely to provide returns to the environment and wider community? 

The answer is they are not and the proof is demonstrated by Thames Water. It is nothing short of a disgrace that an investment banking firm was able to purchase that company, load it up with debt, neglect long-term infrastructure investment, dish out dividends for their shareholders and then leave for someone else to pick up the pieces later.

That is not the way a utility company should be run and it’s time to bring an end to this privatised model.


We need people whose priority is the environment and local communities running the show, not just shareholders solely motivated by profit.

We need to find ways to raise the capital we need for major infrastructure investment and ensure that as much profit as possible is ploughed back into this mission.

If this all seems a bit obvious - then it only demonstrates just how short-sighted the initial privatisation of water companies was.

We must reject this false dichotomy that it is either disastrous underinvestment with the state or total, exploitative corporatisation of our public utilities.

Instead, we must find another way.

Where proper management means those responsible for our waterways act responsibly and are governed by, with and for the community.

That’s the liberal way and I urge you all to back the motion.

Sign our petition: Stop Sewage Dumping

Tax water companies' huge profits and fix our sewage system.

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