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We live in a beautiful part of the world and we have a duty of care to look after the natural environment around us. Protecting and enhancing our natural environment is core to all Lib Dem policy

Bantham coastline - Adobe stock image with license.jpeg

Liberal Democrats believe that everyone should have access to clean air, green spaces and unpolluted rivers, lakes and beaches.


The UK government must address the crisis in our natural environment; one in six species are threatened with extinction and air pollution threatens thousands of lives at great cost to public health and the NHS.


The Government’s own Office for Environmental Protection has found that the policy decisions the Conservatives have made fall “far short” of the action needed to restore nature.

  • Year on year, the government has let water companies get away with dumping millions of tonnes of raw sewage into rivers, lakes and coastlines. Just one in seven of England’s rivers are in good ecological health, and every single one is below chemical pollution standards.

  • Liberal Democrats have a plan to restore the UK’s natural environment, and give everyone access to a clean and healthy natural world. 



​Tackling the National Sewage Scandal

Liberal Democrats have a plan to tackle the national scandal of sewage polluted rivers, waterways and beaches, and making water companies work for people by:

  • Transforming water companies into public benefit companies.

  • Banning bonuses for water bosses until discharges and leaks end

  • Replacing Ofwat with a tough new regulator with new powers to prevent sewage dumps.

  • Introducing a Sewage Tax on water company profits.

  • Enforcing existing laws to ensure that the storm overflows only function in exceptional circumstances. 

  • Setting legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping into bathing waters and highly sensitive nature sites by 2030.

  • Embracing nature based solutions to tackle the problem of sewage dumping.

  • Strengthening the powers of local authorities to monitor the health of our rivers, lakes and coastlines, restore our natural environment and tackle climate change. 

  • Setting a new 'blue flag' standard, introducing a 'blue corridor' programme for rivers, streams and lakes to ensure clean, healthy water and awarding bathing water status.

  • Requiring more regular and stricter testing of water quality, particularly bathing water and sensitive nature sites.

  • Giving local environmental groups a place on water companies’ boards.

  • Introducing a single social tariff for water bills to help eliminate water poverty within the next parliament.

  • Implementing Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act to require sustainable drainage systems in new developments.

  • Mandating all water companies to publish accessible real-time data on any sewage they dump.

Improving Access to a Healthy Environment

Liberal Democrats want to ensure everyone has access to a healthy natural environment, regardless of where they live, by:

  • Passing a new Environmental Rights Act, recognising everyone's human right to a healthy environment, guaranteeing access to environmental justice.

  • Protect at least 30% of land and sea areas by 2030 for nature’s recovery.

  • Doubling nature by 2050: doubling the size of the Protected Area Network, doubling the area of most important wildlife habitats, doubling the abundance of species and doubling woodland cover by 2050.

  • Strengthen the Office for Environmental Protection and provide more funding to the Environment Agency and Natural England to help protect our environment and enforce environmental laws.

  • Working together with our European neighbours to tackle the nature crisis, including applying to join the European Environment Agency.

Read our policy on Tackling the Nature Crisis

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