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Brixham Cryptosporidium outbreak

I am pleased to see the Cryptosporidium outbreak in Brixham and surrounding areas has now being dealt with properly. Having the directive to boil all water lifted for households fed by the Alston reservoir is a good step forward. I hope residents served by Hillhead follow suit sooner rather than later. Though welcome, the compensation offered—£115 to Alston affected residents and £215 to Hillhead—seems unlikely to compensate for such disruption fully.

The safety of everyone in Brixham and the return to normalcy are our shared priorities. I commend the efforts of all those within SWW and the resilient spirit of the people of Brixham who have come together to support one another during this challenging time. It’s great to see such community spirit.

As we move forward from this crisis, it is crucial that we address the issue of accountability. Should SWW have their water supply license revoked, considering their initial response of denial? This lack of transparency put our health, wellbeing, and lives at risk. If not, what measures will be put in place to ensure a similar situation does not occur again?

The second is, did medical authorities not register that something was wrong by Wednesday, 15 May? That morning, a Brixham resident had received 1,200 posts on Facebook reporting illness. School attendance was low. Many people must have contacted their doctor. Why did no one notice, ask why, and then contact SWW?  

The situation in Brixham is not a one-off. Many other places in the UK are at risk of health outbreaks caused by water pollution. 

Anthony Mangnall, our current MP, told Newsnight recently, 'We need to make sure the Environment Act we passed a few years ago implements those policies of stopping dividend payments, revoking licenses, sending executives to jail. Those powers are there. We have to use them.' 

I couldn't agree more—so why haven't he and his Government used these powers over the last 14 years?  

In 2011 South West Water's Environmental performance was 2 star

In 2012 2 star

In 2013 1 star

In 2014 2 star

In 2015 1 star

In 2016 2 star

In 2017 2 star

In 2018 2 star

In 2019 2 star

In 2020 2 star

In 2021 1 star

(2 Stars is a company requiring improvement , 1 star, a Poor performing company)

Environment Agency Environmental Performance Assessment (EP)

South West Water have been performing below target for years, and this government has done nothing about it.

Water companies paid £1.4 billion in dividends last year and saw fines of just £11.4 million in a period when vast amounts of sewage were pumped into our rivers and seas. If fines are no deterrent, companies will continue to dump sewage, putting profits above people's and the environment's health. 

Recently, the Chair of River Action UK told a committee of MPs, 'Someone is going to die' because of this. Are we willing to risk potential fatalities or do we need to push SWW, the Government, the Regulatory Authorities, and our MP to step up their efforts? Or elect a Government that will put the health of our communities - and our environment - before the profit of these companies?


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