LOCAL MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has called for people to watch out for and report any unauthorised sewage spills they encounter while out and about during the school Easter holidays.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said reporting unauthorised discharges would help the Government maintain its ‘toughest-ever crackdown’ on the water industry.

Figures just released showed the number of sewage spills increased by more than 100 per cent last year.

The Environment Agency said there were 3.6 million hours of spills compared to 1.75 million hours in 2022.

Some of the blame could be laid on heavy rain, since rainwater and sewage shared the same network.

But environmentalists have been angered by the increase and say pollution has reached unacceptable levels at scores of beaches and along hundreds of miles of rivers.

Ministers have already announced a series of measures aimed at forcing water companies to clean up their act, including lifting the cap on fines and stripping company bosses of their bonuses in the wake of any corporate convictions.

The Environment Agency is undertaking the largest ever criminal investigation into breaches of discharge regulations, while 500 more inspectors are being recruited to beef up enforcement and compliance with stronger regulations.

Mr Liddell-Grainger, who represents West Somerset and will be the Conservative candidate at the next General Election in a new constituency covering Mid Devon and other parishes around Wellington, said the public still had a role to play in acting as the agency’s ears and eyes.

He said: “Hundreds of thousands of people are going to be out and about over the next couple of weeks and I would urge them all to be on the look-out for and report suspected illegal discharges.

“Water companies need to be left in no doubt that we are all thoroughly fed up with the spectacle of executives and shareholders being generously rewarded for nothing more than the systematic degradation of rivers, streams, and bathing waters.

“The more we can do to highlight their continued failings, the more they will be punished - and the more that will concentrate official minds on remedying a totally unacceptable situation.”