manchester foe logo

2023 record-breaking year for sewage spills – Friends of the Earth reaction

news release

Responding to the news that 2023 was the worst year for sewage spills into rivers and seas in England with a 54% rise in incidents compared to 2022 – Sienna Somers, nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“Record-breaking sewage figures aren’t just numbers – they represent a dire threat to our rivers, seas, wildlife and biodiversity. ​

“Scandalous inaction by water companies has pushed our ecosystems to the brink and is putting our health at risk.

“But the real sewage scandal is our government’s pursuit of deregulation and deep cuts to the Environment Agency, which mean even ministers are in the dark about the true extent of water pollution. ​

“We urgently need increased monitoring and reporting. The government may finally be talking tough on holding to water companies to account, but this comes after decades of inaction, which has allowed for systematic failures. We also need to enshrine the right to a healthy environment in UK law, giving communities the power to hold water companies legally accountable when they pollute local rivers and seas.”


For more information and interviews contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649 or email

Notes to editors:

1. About Friends of the Earth: Friends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit: follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook page. Save paper and send an e-card today, available at

Find us on


Support Us

Donate or join us using a standing order or PayPal.

Twitter @foemcr