CORNWALL has had the highest number of storm overflow spills in the UK, according to new analysis. 

According to new research conducted by energy-switching firm, Utility
Bidder, Cornwall ranks as having the most recorded storm overflow spills
in the country, with 11,285 recorded spills. 

The analysis claims the total duration of spills reported in Cornwall
in 2022 was 78,775 hours, which meant that the average duration per
spill was seven hours.

The data comes after it was announced that the High Court will hear a
legal challenge that aims to force the Government to toughen up its plan
for reducing sewage dumped in England’s rivers and seas.

England’s sewers were designed with 14,500 storm overflows to stop
them becoming overwhelmed, allowing a mixture of surface water and
sewage to be discharged during heavy rainfall. But according to the
Environment Agency, these overflows are now used on a routine basis.
Water companies discharged untreated sewage through storm overflows more
than 300,000 times in 2022 for a total of 1.7 million hours.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
published the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan to tackle this in
August last year. It imposed a deadline of 2035 for reducing the sewage
flowing into bathing waters and areas of ecological importance, but
gave companies until 2050 to stop discharges elsewhere.

This legal challenge, which has been backed by cross-party MPs, aims
to force the Government to bring forward these deadlines and introduce
tougher targets. 

Legal Director of Good Law Project, Emma Dearnaley, said: "The public
is - rightly - angry and upset and calling for urgent action on sewage

"This hearing is a huge moment for the future of our rivers and seas.
This is our chance to force the Government to put in place a robust plan
to put an end to the sewage scandal blighting our country.

"Success in this case could also set a significant legal precedent by
reviving an ancient legal principle that would require the Government to
take positive steps to protect our shared natural resources. This is a
potential game changer for future environmental challenges."

CEO of the Marine Conservation Society, Sandy Luk, said: "This is a
momentous court case to hold the UK Government to account for our right
to a clean and healthy ocean. 

"This is achievable, but we need urgent and decisive action from the
Government to make it happen. For the sake of people and planet, we need
sewage-free seas."