Fylde MP Mark Menzies urges action over coastal water pollution

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Fylde MP Mark Menzies is urging efforts are stepped up to prevent spills in coastal waters but warns the problem cannot be solved overnight.

Several incidents have been reported in recent weeks where sewage has been discharged following heavy rain.

Mr Menzies has asked both United Utilities and the Environment Agency to explain how they intend to respond to these incidents and to bring forward investment to resolve the problem.

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He said: “I know this is of great concern to people in Fylde but it is not something that is going to be fixed overnight.

Pollution in the sea at St AnnesPollution in the sea at St Annes
Pollution in the sea at St Annes

“Significant investment is needed to prevent storm water discharges and I want to know now how United Utilities intends to deliver for Fylde residents.”

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Mr Menzies is concerned by the potential impact fresh reports will have on tourism businesses and has sought reassurances over safety.

He said: “The bathing water at St Annes Pier is rated good by the Environment Agency and the beach has again be granted the Seaside Award.

Fylde MP Mark MenziesFylde MP Mark Menzies
Fylde MP Mark Menzies

“But these reports do make people worried.

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“I want to see our bathing waters brought up to the highest possible standard and want to know how that can be achieved.

“I continue to push United Utilities to ensure this happens.”

Storm water outfalls are not the only issue which impact bathing water quality and Mr Menzies is keen to understand what else can be done to improve water quality.

He said: “We need to ensure our older, combined sewer networks are upgraded.

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“But there are also significant issues like run off from agricultural land which impact the River Ribble and beyond.

“It’s a complex issue and important that landowners have the support they need to make a difference.”

United Utilities said after the latest spillage: “Over the past 20 years, United Utilities has invested £1.2bn improving sewer overflows to improve CSOs and reduce the amount and impact of spills.

“United Utilities has committed to reduce the number of spills from storm overflows by at least a third, between 2020 and 2025, supported through a £230m investment programme at sites across the region, leading to 184km of improved waterway.”

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A Fylde Council spokesman said representatives from both United Utilities and the Environment Agency will be attending the next scheduled meeting of the council’s Environment, Health, and Housing Committee on Tuesday, June 14 (6.30pm at the Town Hall), and the public are welcome.

Among the members of that committee is Lytham councillor Roger Lloyd who with fellow independent member Mark Bamforth has been looking into the issue for several years.

Coun Bamforth said: "I know under government legislation they're allowed to discharge, but I'm concerned because we know they are discharging from the tank on Park View Road into Lytham Brook.

"In the last few years the amount of people living near the brook have been plagued with insect bites.

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"Lytham Brook runs down the side of Park View 4 U towards Lytham Hall, so it could have a knock on effect. It does smell.

"When I was a kid, the brook had eels in, sticklebacks, frogs, newts and ducklings. Now you see very little wildlife there.

"The heavy sewage is gathering as a solid mass on the bottom and it really does need de-silting. There doesn’t seem any flow on Lytham brook any more."