Stop water pollution in the Lake District
Stop water pollution in the Lake District
Updated 23rd October 2021- For history of the campaign and water pollution statistics please scroll down
I need your help.
With the tireless work of my local MP, Tim Farron, the campaign is now in the form of an Early Day Motion (EDM) and has been submitted to Parliament. This needs MPs to sign the EDM so it can be debated in the House of Commons and made into law.
Why does this need you?
I need you to contact your local MP and tell them to help stop water pollution in the Lake District National Park.
With the latest rejection of the amendments to the Environment Bill our lakes and rivers need your help more than ever.
You can simply copy the message below, but it would be great if you can tell your MP why you care about the Lake District. Do you come here to swim or take part in water sports and are concerned about how this can impact your health? Do you visit to enjoy the beauty and wildlife of our National Park? Or do you just want to see an end to water pollution?
For those that have already signed and shared I am forever grateful but the message still needs to reach as far and wide as possible and most importantly land on the desks of those in power that can put an end to this.
Share with your friends, family and encourage them to write to their MPs. Please spread the word to help save Windermere.
Here is the link to help you find your MP.
“To <your MP>,
I am writing to you to ask you to add your name to the Early Day Motion- Sewage pollution in our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Windermere is becoming increasingly polluted and unless something is done now it will soon be ecologically dead. This will have severe impacts on people, businesses and wildlife. This is despite it being one of the most loved and used lakes in the Lake District and England's most iconic water. No water body in a National Park or AONB should be polluted like this. I implore you to add your name to the EDM to ensure the protection of our beautiful lakes, rivers and streams.
Why the campaign started
I want there to be a ban on water pollution in the Lake District World Heritage Site. I want water quality in the national park to be of “high quality” in accordance with the water framework directive. As a Zoologist, conservationist and wildlife advocate, my goal is simple; stop water pollution in the Lake District.
I was disgusted to find out that raw sewage was allowed to flow into Lake Windermere for 1,719 hours in 2020, as part of the overflow system at Ambleside Waste Management Plant. It is hard to comprehend that that is 71 days worth of sewage, raw sewage; unfiltered and untreated. This is one of three big issues impacting Lake Windermere and the surrounding rivers. The other big polluter is septic tanks. These septic tanks are largely unregulated and not adequate to meet the demands that 15 million tourists have on the current infrastructure.
The impact this has on the environment is catastrophic. So much so, that I have seen: a dire reduction of freshwater vegetation, a significant impact on varies fish species and an absence of White Clawed Crayfish in Otter spraint since 2020. This sort of pollution has a disastrous impact on wildlife. Wildlife that utilise waterways. Wildlife that if absent, can lead to the eventual death of a river. Recent data from South Cumbria Rivers trust shows spikes of phosphates which are 1000 times worse than an ecosystem with high WFD water quality status. Similarly, data from the salmon and trout conservation trust shows how heavily impacted the River Leven is. Here, like in other parts of the lake; trout, salmon and other species are dying.
I believe that this issue requires governmental intervention, an intervention that would make law the ban of water pollution in the National Park. Sadly, my government petition was rejected due to the fact that they did not see it as 'their responsibility' to ban water pollution. Thus, I am bringing my petition to you, the people; do you want raw sewage in your rivers?
It has been brought to my attention that the UK's river health is detrimental, one of the worst in Europe. So, it has become apparent that this unfortunately does not just affect the Lake District, but the entire country!
Therefore, my plan is simple. I want to begin the ban in the Lake District and then gradually move to clean the countries water. I want the rivers and lakes to be clean for the people that utilise them and especially for the wildlife that call our rivers and lakes their home.
I am striving towards getting Lake Windermere, the River Rothay and the Brathay designated as sites of bathing. This would mean the environment agency would have to monitor it regularly and ensure it is suitably clean. Following this I intend to get it passed through the House of Lords to make it law so this cannot continue.
If this is achieved it will make it the second and third river in the entirety of the UK to have this status. I can confidently say that this is an achievable goal and it will be the first step in the right direction to completely stopping water pollution in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I also believe, that it raises awareness to the national scandal that is our rivers. Suffice to say, we have some of the worst rivers in Europe, if not the world...
“For high levels of surface water fecal contamination, the extent of contamination of surface waters is predicted to be massive in some countries. All of India fits into this category, as does ~70% of the United Kingdom, and ~30% of the United States, excluding Alaska” (Kiulia et al., 2015).’
I have begun the process of getting Windermere, the River Rothay and Brathay as designated bathing sites. All signatures on this petition will be added as evidence to this cause. I post regular updates on my progress with this campaign on my Instagram: @mattstaniek.
Finally, if you want to see if your favourite swimming spot has raw sewage discharged into it, then head over to the Rivers Trust website.
Good on ya,