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The Scottish Nationalist Party’s Westminster leader was accused of hypocrisy after he attacked Boris Johnson’s party over its record on raw sewage seeping into English rivers. Nicola Sturgeon’s right-hand man in London was one of several opposition leaders to take aim at the Prime Minister over the issue.
Last month the Government performed a partial U-turn on the issue after the Environment Agency said that there were 403,171 spills of sewage into England’s rivers and seas in 2020.
Under the change, water companies will be forced to show a reduction in sewage overspills over the next five years.
Reacting to the news Mr Blackford tweeted that “England’s rivers are flowing with… sewage”.
While the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber was quick to highlight England’s poor record, he was far quieter on Scotland’s standing on the issue.
It has since emerged that quango Scottish Water has an “unacceptably high” number of leaks.
Figures obtained by the Scottish Lib Dems showed that in 2020 there were a total of 12,725 “spill events”, up 40 percent on 2016.
This issue is so bad that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) are said to be hesitant to review Scottish Water’s operating licences in bulk over fears the watchdog’s enforcement had not been strong enough.
The party has called on Environment Minister Mairi McAllan MSP to explain 12,000 sewage leaks in a Parliamentary statement.
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Scottish Lib Dems climate emergency spokesman Liam McArthur MSP told the Scottish Daily Express: “Just days after SNP MPs lambasted the UK Government for voting to allow raw sewage into rivers, it emerges that their Scottish Government has a very smelly problem of its own.
“Neither the SNP nor the Conservatives can be trusted with Scotland’s waterways.
“It’s particularly troubling that the environment watchdog’s first concern wasn’t for the health of our streams, rivers and communities but for their own reputation.
“The Environment Minister should come to Parliament to deliver a statement on what is being done to clear up this sewage leak crisis.”
The Scottish Government said it took the sewage spill issue “very seriously” and insisted Scotland was” renowned worldwide for the environmental quality” of its waters.
A spokeswoman said: “Since 2015 Scottish Water has invested over £245m to address 117 unsatisfactory sewer overflows.
“Overflows are designed to prevent flooding and backing up into houses and businesses during heavy rainfall.
“That heavy rainfall is likely to increase as a result of climate change and we are working to make sure infrastructure can cope – including through ongoing and increased investment.
“Scotland is renowned worldwide for the environmental quality of our rivers, lochs and seas, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) classifies 87 percent of our waterbodies as having ‘good’ water quality.”
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