Tackling River Pollution

River Avon


Wiltshire has been the epicentre of life and culture on this island for thousands of years. This is, in large part, due to its position as the triple hydrological divide of the South of England. To the west, the Bristol Avon meanders to Bristol Channel and out into the Atlantic; to the south, the Wiltshire Avon catchment drains into the English Channel; and, to the east, the Kennet flows towards the Thames, and into the North Sea. The abundance of clean water has helped humans thrive for millennia in this part of the world.

The current state of our rivers, and particularly our world-renowned chalk streams, is cause for serious concern.  Untreated sewage, agricultural runoff and domestic cleaning products are just a few of the issues affecting these finely balanced ecosystems which form the ecological arteries of the country.

It is with these issues in mind that I have been working with local groups and my fellow MPs to improve the appalling situation we find ourselves in. Below you can find some of the issues I have worked on over the past few years. I will continue to push for further action on this important area. 


An update on nutrient neutrality - 2nd October, 2023

In August, the Government announced plans that would have unlocked over 100,000 homes held up due to legacy EU laws on nutrient neutrality across 62 local authorities, while still protecting the environment.

An update on the performace of our Water Companies

The Environment Agency has recently released its annual report on the environmental performance of England’s nine water and sewerage companies, rating each company in England from 1 star to 4 star.

Newsletter - 3 July, 2023

Last week John Glen, MP for Salisbury, and I spent a day at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down. Dstl sits on a vast campus comprising hundreds of buildings, some dating back to World War I and the first experiments with gas for the battlefield.

Newsletter - 12 December, 2022

A victory for the Morgan’s Hill River Group, which I set up in honour of the hydrological landmark near Devizes whence rainwater flows into the three seas to the east, south and west of England… a victory for us, and for all the other campaigners who have been calling for the fines that water com

Newsletter - 5 September, 2022

I am back in London for the new Parliamentary term, and awaiting the announcement this lunchtime of the name of the new Prime Minister. A good moment to reflect on a hot Wiltshire summer, with dark clouds gathering.

The Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan

The Victorians introduced storm overflows as a safety valve for combined sewage systems. They discharge excess sewage and rainwater to rivers, lakes, or the sea when the sewer system is under strain.

OFWAT Strategic Policy Statement

In November I launched the Morgan's Hill Rivers Group of MPs through whose constituencies run the three rivers - the Bristol Avon, the Hampshire Avon and the Kennet - that rise in the district around Morgan's Hill, north of Devizes (see here for the short video launching the group).