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Campaigners accuse Dan Poulter MP of misinformation following Environment Bill claims



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Campaigners in Suffolk have accused their MP of ‘trotting out misinformation’ after he indicated there there was was no need for concern over the safety of rivers in the area.

Last month, 49 residents signed a petition outside Eye Town Library – voicing their opposition to their MP, Dr Dan Poulter, after he voted against a bill seeking to place a duty on water companies to improve their sewage systems.

In response to the petition Dr Poulter said: “Suffolk residents should be reassured that, as far as I am aware, there are no concerns of water quality or safely in our local rivers.”

There have been longstanding concerns over the quality of the water running through the River Dove (pictured). Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2021.
There have been longstanding concerns over the quality of the water running through the River Dove (pictured). Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2021.

The conservative was one of 265 MPs to vote down the The Duke of Wellington’s amendment to the Environment Bill, which had it gained sufficient support, would have placed a legal obligation on water companies to reduce discharges of untreated sewage into rivers.

The Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP added: “Measures have been brought forward by the Government in the Environment Bill to mandate and improve river quality standards.

“The Government is ensuring these measures are implemented in a well-considered and thoughtful way.”

Campaigners in Eye who are unhappy with the quality of the water in the River Dove in the town. Pictured from left: Tim Glenton, Steve Card, Max the dog and Kate McKechnie. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2021.
Campaigners in Eye who are unhappy with the quality of the water in the River Dove in the town. Pictured from left: Tim Glenton, Steve Card, Max the dog and Kate McKechnie. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2021.

Kate Leith, one of the organisers behind the initial petition, accused the MP of downplaying the severity of situation. Last year, Anglian Water discharged raw sewage into a section of the River Dove, just outside Eye, on 33 occasions and a further 17 times in a section near Thorndon.

She said: “Dan Poulter has trotted out misinformation in response to his constituents’ legitimate concerns about a clear hazard to their health and the degradation of their landscape.

“As a medical doctor, he must be well aware of the health risks posed by contact with the pathogens present in raw sewage – it’s beggars belief that he can have no concerns about the potential risk to residents who use the River Dove for recreational purposes, given that untreated sewage was pumped into the river near Eye for a total of 550 hours last year alone.”

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