Lib Dem Zöe Franklin calls out Guildford's MP for refusing to back sewage sickness compensation scheme

6 Dec 2023
Zöe Franklin at River Wey

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Zöe Franklin:  

“Once again, Angela Richardson had the opportunity to stand up for her constituents, but has let them down.” 

The Liberal Democrats tabled an amendment to the Government’s Victims and Prisoners Bill, proposing anyone who’s been made ill as a direct result of illegal sewage dumping should be able to claim compensation from water companies. 

The Party said the scheme should be funded by the privatised water companies’ profits. 

Zöe Franklin said: “Guildford’s MP Angela Richardson and the Conservative government have once again put water companies’ profits before people’s health. 

“People in Guildford should be able to trust their MP to stand up and fight for what’s best for them, and not take the side of privatised water companies who are dumping sewage in our waterways.” 

The Liberal Democrat amendment was voted down in the Commons this week after MPs, including Conservative Angela Richardson, refused to support it. 

The amendment follows a recent report by the campaign group “Surfers Against Sewage”, which found between October 2022 and September 2023, nearly 2,000 water users, including swimmers, reported getting ill after entering the water. This is three times the number reported in 2021/2022. 

Ms Franklin added: “Water companies have dumped sewage for 7.5 million hours over the last three years, including more than 450,000 hours into England’s designated bathing waters. 

“Over the same time, England’s senior water executives were paid £73 million, including £41 million in bonuses, benefits and incentives.   

“The Liberal Democrats have exposed the sewage scandal and will continue to hold these polluting firms to account even if Angela Richardson won’t. 


Notes to Editor: 

The record of the votes can be found here.  

Surfers Against Sewage report 

Liberal Democrat DEFRA Spokesperson Tim Farron’s amendment is below: 

New Clause 10 

To move the following Clause—  

“Sewage Illness Victim Compensation Scheme  

(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations provide for a compensation scheme for victims who have suffered harm as a direct result of criminal conduct in relation to sewage and waste water.  

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) must— (a) provide for the payment of compensation to people who have become unwell as a result of bathing in water contaminated by sewage, (b) make provision in relation to the medical evidence required to support a claim for compensation under the regulations.  

(3) Regulations under this section may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.”  

Clause 28 

Clause 1, page 1, line 16, at end insert—  

“(e) where the person has suffered harm as a direct result of criminal conduct in relation to sewage and waste water”