Coventry campaigners hit out at Severn Trent over sewage in rivers - The Coventry Observer

Coventry campaigners hit out at Severn Trent over sewage in rivers

Coventry Editorial 11th Jul, 2023 Updated: 11th Jul, 2023   0

PROTESTERS from five different groups marched from the Godiva Statue to Severn Trent’s Coventry headquarters last Friday to protest against the firm’s record of dumping raw sewage in rivers.

Around 100 protesters took the journey to St John Street carrying flags and banners before crowning Severn Trent as ‘Richard the Turd.’

Protesters then returned a bucket of mock sewage to the company.

The march was part of the Coventry dirty water campaign, which has called on Severn Trent to invest in modern treatment of the sewage, expand holding tanks to stop river dumping and stop leaks in the system.

Campaigners claim in 2020, Severn Trent dumped raw sewage into the rivers for more than 500,000 hours.

A campaign spokesperson said: “Severn Trent paid £261million in dividends last year and CEO Liv Garfield pocketed £3.9million.

“Despite these huge profits, there has been chronic underinvestment in the system which has created a vast backlog of neglected pipes and sewage works.

“Not one river in England is in good chemical condition and only 14 per cent are in good ecological condition.”

The group also expressed concern over an Environment Agency decision to extend the schedule for tackling pollution in rivers, lakes and coastal waters from 2027 to 2063.

Prof Elizabeth Wellington, from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, is part of the campaign.

She said: “This is more serious than the threat of Covid.

“If you’re a fisherman, dog walker, wild swimmer, a child paddling in the shallows, or a canoeist, or you’re just unlucky enough to fall in the water, you are in danger of getting an infection, which could be caused by an antibiotic-resistant bacterium and be more difficult to treat.”

A Severn Trent spokesperson said: “We fully respect the right to peacefully protest and understand why people feel let down by water companies when it comes to rivers. We know what needs to be done to make it right, and we’re doing it.

“We’re delivering an industry-leading plan that includes bold commitments, such as by 2030 our operations will cause no harm to rivers.

“In the first year of this plan, we’ve reduced our impact by a third, but we know there’s more to do, which is why we’re continuing to invest hundreds of millions of pounds into making rivers the healthiest they can be.”

Visit for more on the Coventry dirty water campaign.


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