OPINION

May 15th, 2024

There is so much going on in the UK at the moment that I don’t know where to start. So we’ll look at the water boards. Since privatisation they have been regularly loaded with debt and dividends totalling in the billions have been returned (paid out) to shareholders. In the early days of privatisation Macquarie were typical exponents of this strategy.

The largest lake in England, Windermere in the Lake District, has been severely polluted.

Lake Windermere Algae “bloom”. The BFD

A fresh row has broken out of over the state of England’s waters as the bathing season starts, following reports millions of litres of raw sewage were pumped into Windermere.

Documents from water company United Utilities seen by the BBC showed that a fault at a pumping station in Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria left sewage being illegally pumped into the famous lake for 10 hours in February.

Sewage outlet Windermere. The BFD.

The situation was labelled a “scandal” by opposition politicians, while Downing Street said it was “completely unacceptable” and the Environment Agency had the power to launch a criminal prosecution if necessary.

 Windermere is a popular swimming lake, with four designated bathing sites.

The latest revelations come after analysis by Friends of the Earth showed more than 440,000 hours of sewage was released along England’s coastline in 2023, with thousands of spills taking place close to bathing spots.

The campaign group analysed Environment Agency data on sewage overflow outlets to calculate the number and duration of spills directly into the sea and estuaries and near swimming waters.

It found there were 68,481 incidents of sewage released into England’s seas last year, totalling 440,446 hours.

More than a quarter of these, some 117,584 hours over 21,213 spills, were within 1.9 miles (3km) of a bathing spot, the assessment found.

Shadow environment secretary Steve Reed said of the news that pollution was illegally pumped into Windermere: “The Conservatives just folded their arms and looked the other way while United Utilities pumped a tidal wave of raw sewage into Britain’s most beautiful lake.

Source The Independent July 15th, 2024.

In my part of the UK there are now widespread cases of wild tomatoes growing by the beaches. These are also common along the south coast.

Wild tomatoes in Kent. The BFD.

Sewage discharge Cornwall. The BFD.

It has got so bad here that I no longer let my dog swim in my local stream. What is upsetting is seeing tourists allowing their children to paddle in the stream without checking the water first.

Today, it was revealed that there has been an outbreak of diarrhoea and associated illness caused by contaminated drinking water (at first denied by South West Water) and residents have been advised to boil drinking water.

South West Water (SWW) has confirmed that further testing has found the presence of Cryptosporidium in two areas of Brixham. Yesterday, May 14, the UK Health Security Agency confirmed 16 cases of the infection and around 70 reported cases of diarrhoea and vomiting in Brixham, with more cases reported by victims on social media.

Yesterday SWW stated that all its current water supply tests had come back clear and that customers should continue to use their water as normal. Today, May 15, it has announced it has detected ‘small traces’ of the organism in Alston and the Hillhead area of Brixham.

Residents living in those areas are being advised to boil their drinking water before drinking it and bottled water stations have been set up for them. Cryptosporidium is a parasite which can cause sickness and diarrhoea if consumed. Drinking water can become contaminated for various reasons and SWW says it is fully investigating the cause.

It added that data from its tests over the last several weeks showed that the treated water leaving its treatment works was not contaminated. However, in the Hillhead section of its network, further tests taken overnight and working with the advice of UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), it has found ‘small traces’ of cryptosporidium.

A South West Water spokesperson said: “Customers in Alston and the Hillhead area of Brixham are advised to boil their drinking water before consuming following new test results for cryptosporidium. We are issuing this notice following small traces of the organism identified overnight and this morning.

“We are working with the UK Health Security Agency and other public health partners to urgently investigate and eliminate the source. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and will continue to keep customers and businesses updated. Bottled water stations will be set up in the affected areas as soon as possible.”

Source Devon Live May 15th, 2024.

Bottled water station being established in Paignton, next to Brixham 15th May. The BFD.

All this awful deterioration of the water supply has been caused by a total lack of investment by the privatised water companies. There has also been a lack of political will to fix it and either get the regulators to pressure the water companies or introduce legislation to compel the water companies to act in the national interest.

The UK is also deep in the poo with increased terrorism activity, more alleged spies being arrested (this time from China), an economic situation not improving as it should with an incompetent government and an untrustworthy opposition.

As for the chaos in Scotland, well that’s another whole can of worms, yet another legacy of Tony Blair.

Brought up in a far-left coal mining community and came to NZ when the opportunity arose. Made a career working for blue-chip companies both here and overseas. Developed a later career working on business...