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Sewage dumped on Wales’ Blue Flag beaches 579 times, lasting 6,757 hours last year say Lib Dems

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A new analysis of Environment Agency data by the Welsh Liberal Democrats have revealed that Welsh Water has dumped sewage onto our Blue Flag beaches 579 times, lasting an astonishing 6,757 hours

The worst incident was on Poppit Sands Beach near Cardigan with sewage dumped 79 times lasting 1,518 hours. South Beach in Aberystwyth had the highest number of incidents at 142.

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Preseli Pembrokeshire ranks as the constituency with the highest number of sewage dumps in the whole of England and Wales with 6754 dumps in 2021 (79,501 hours). Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and Dwyfor Meirionnydd come a close second and third.

The shocking new findings follow a major report by Surfers Against Sewage this week which reported illegal “dry spills” are taking place, meaning water companies, including Welsh Water, are discharging sewage even when there has not been heavy rainfall.

The report also found an increase in the number of cases of people being sick after swimming in natural waters. Including a case study in Poppit Sands.

Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Labour Government to ban bonuses for water bosses until the dumps are halted and for the money being given as bonuses to be directed into improving infrastructure. They are also campaigning for more investment in Natural Resources Wales to save Wales’ swimming spots and enforce high standards.

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Over the last 2 years, executives at Welsh Water have received £2.4 million – including £808,000 in bonuses – whilst they continue to dump raw sewerage into our precious rivers and lakes and market themselves as a not-for-profit.

Commenting, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Senedd Member for Mid & West Wales Jane Dodds said: “While Welsh Water bosses make huge bonuses, we are left to swim in raw sewage. Many families in Wales are worried that a trip to the beach with the kids, building sandcastles and playing in the sea, could now make them sick. It’s not fair, and Wales deserves better.

“The Welsh Labour government must show leadership and protect our beaches. They shouldn’t hide behind inaction from the Conservatives at Westminster: they have the power in the Senedd to clean up our water, restore nature and make our beaches safe again.”

“The government cannot let water bosses get away with this any longer. They should listen to Liberal Democrat calls to stop water bosses rewarding themselves for failure and to invest in protections and clean ups of our treasured beaches and rivers, before it is too late.”  

Top 10 sewage discharges on Blue Flag beaches in Wales:

AreaBlue Flag BeachWater CompaniesSewage Discharge LocationBathing WaterHours of spillsNumber of spills
PembrokeshirePoppit Sands Beach, St DogmaelsWelsh WaterST DOGMAELS NORTH END PS CSO AND EOPoppit West1518.5079
CeredigionAberystwyth South Beach, AberystwythWelsh WaterLLANFARIAN WWTW LLANFARIAN CERED’NAberystwyth South1470.75142
PembrokeshireCoppet Hall Beach, SaundersfootWelsh WaterSAUNDERSFOOT STW/PS SAUNDERSFOOTSaundersfoot1294.7579
PembrokeshireTenby South Beach, TenbyWelsh WaterSTORM TANKS AT TENBY HEADWORKS TETenby S693.0054
Vale of GlamorganDunraven Bay Beach, SoutherndownWelsh WaterPENYBONT WWTW PENYBONTSoutherndown664.2549
PembrokeshireNewgale Sands Beach, St DavidsWelsh WaterNEWGALE SEWAGE TREATMENT WORKSNewgale451.2538
BridgendRest Bay Beach, PorthcawlWelsh WaterMARLAS STORM TANKS N CORNELLY BRIDGRest Bay Porthcawl181.0022
PembrokeshireAmroth Beach, AmrothWelsh WaterAMROTH AND SUMMERHILL SCHEME PSAmroth142.0023
CeredigionLlangrannog Beach, LlangrannogWelsh WaterPUMPING STATION ADJ TO NANT HAWENLlangrannog133.7514
DenbighshireCentral Beach, PrestatynWelsh WaterPRESTATYN SPS MARINE RD EASTPrestatyn115.5036

Lead image: Poppit Sands, Pembrokeshire (Image: Visit Pembrokeshire)

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