A poster reading "Vote Green Party" on the back of a chair

Green Party councillors in Sheffield have accused Labour and the Liberal Democrats of siding with private water companies over the public. The Greens made the claim after a motion was put to Sheffield City Council about the ongoing sewage pollution scandal.

The Green Group on the council proposed an amendment to the motion which called for water companies to be taken back into public ownership.

Green councillor Marieanne Elliot who proposed the Green Party amendment said: “Private water companies have paid out £57bn to shareholders over the last 30 years. That is money that could have been spent wisely on investment in infrastructure that could have prevented this trashing of our environment.

“This pollution could have serious local impacts,  such as the discharges in Sheffield by the Lady’s Bridge into the River Don, which threaten projects to support reintroducing salmon and trout to our rivers.

“Water privatisation has been a failed experiment. A service as vital as water and sewerage needs to be run by the public and for the public good. Shareholder payouts and CEO bonuses need to be halted with immediate effect where water quality is substandard.”

“We need to make polluters pay by committing to resourcing the Environment Agency to effectively monitor and guide the water industry and agriculture, with a much more aggressive and focussed approach to enforcement and prosecution.”

Following the vote, Elliot said following the vote “I am very disappointed that the Lib Dems and Labour Councillors backed water companies and their shareholders over investment in infrastructure. To address a problem you first have to acknowledge what that problem is and they have failed to do that.”

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Image credit: Jon Craig – Creative Commons