Studies on the Solent are among those informing a report to and by MPs about the state of English rivers.

Published today (HERE), the Water Quality in Rivers report says a ‘chemical cocktail’ of sewage, agricultural waste, and plastic is polluting some rivers in the country, while 'not a single river in England' is pollution-free.

It cites water companies dumping waste in rivers, 'fatbergs' (huge build-ups of fat in sewers) and single-use sanitary products and wet wipes being flushed into the drains.

The Isle of Wight's River Medina feeds into the Solent and runs from Cowes and East Cowes, to Newport.

Among the report's recommendations are tougher sanctions for polluters, a greater acknowledgement for citizen science and calls for ministers to publish an assessment of all options to fix the waste system, along with a report on stopping storm overflows, due by September 2022. 

Previously fined for piping sewage illegally into the Solent, last July, Southern Water dumped a mix of sewage and water into the river at Alverstone, after local flooding.

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The utility firm has repeatedly insisted that its discharge is 95 per cent  and none is untreated.

In November, hours before a vote on the Environment Bill in Parliament, Southern Water announced plans for a task force to cut storm overflows by 80 per cent by 2030.

In the same month , the Isle of Wight County Press reported findings from pressure group Surfers Against Sewage that showed two Isle of Wight beaches were the worst in the UK for sewage discharges between October 2020 and September 2021.

Gurnard had 321 discharges, the highest number of sewage discharge in the UK, according to SAS.

There have been more discharges at Cowes and Gurnard this week.

Southern Water's Beachbuoy monitoring site shows it happend on January 10 and 11, including one that appeared to last for 24 hours.

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Last week, we reported a letter had been recieved by Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely in which Southern Water said it will use the Island as a Pathfinder site, to cut sewage dumping by 80 per cent, for around 90 per cent of the Island.

Islanders have taken part in a number of protests over the past few months, with the Stop the Sewage Isle of Wight Facebook group highlighting regular discharges.

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Isle of Wight County Press: A protest sign in Gurnard.A protest sign in Gurnard.

Sewage overflow is not the only issue considered.

Although the Isle of Wight does not get a specific mention, studies on chemical levels in the Solent help form part of the report, looking at the run-off of chemicals used in fields, by farmers and on development sites.

In 2020, Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely was among those backing a nitrate offset scheme.

The trial project would see developers to buying ‘nitrogen credits’, to offset the nutrient footprint of new homes. The credits could then be used to create environment friendly habitats elsewhere.

In September 2020, Mr Seely told the County Press: "There is another way to reduce nitrogen levels in watercourses and that is to stop unnecessary greenfield development."

At the end of last year, however, he was under pressure to do more and faster to stop water firms dumping sewage in rivers and our seas. 

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