Tories have been accused of ‘hiding their head in the sand’ as they rejected calls to tackle sewage pollution in Wychavon.

At a recent Wychavon District Council meeting, Liberal Democrats called upon the executive board to challenge Severn Trent.

This comes as figures released by the Rivers Trust showed that in 2021, raw sewage was discharged into local watercourses for a total of 17,745 hours as a result of storm overflows, which are used to prevent flooding in properties.

Highlighting these figures at the meeting, councillor Tucker said: “I am amazed that you (Conservative councillors) aren't concerned about this raw sewage pollution.

“You are hiding your heads in the sand and turning a blind eye to it.

“This is a real problem affecting our local environment and yet you are being entirely complacent about it.”

He also expressed concern about the number of new developments in the area and whether Severn Trent will be able to cope with them.

However, councillor Tucker’s motion was ultimately rejected with council leader Bradley Thomas explaining that there was no need for it to be tabled.

He said: "While this is a serious issue and one of concern to all of us, the notice of motion was unnecessary which is why the majority of councillors could not support it.

"We are already working with Severn Trent on capacity planning for the new developments proposed in the revised South Worcestershire Development Plan. They are best placed to know the capacity they have available and will highlight where additional investment is needed.

"Maintaining our constructive working relationship with Severn Trent is the way to tackle the issues highlighted. What the motion proposed was unhelpful and counterproductive as we have no power to scrutinise or dictate what Severn Trent's investment plans are or should be."

Evesham Journal: Severn Trent is investing in sewage treatment works in Lowers Moor and Beckford. Picture: Getty/Ziga PlahutarSevern Trent is investing in sewage treatment works in Lowers Moor and Beckford. Picture: Getty/Ziga Plahutar

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Severn Trent said they have already started investing to accommodate new housing developments, including work to increase storage and capacity at the Lower Moor and Beckford sewage treatment works.

They said: “Severn Trent has multiple schemes in design and delivery across the Wychavon area. We work with developers, we regularly assess the impact of growth on our system and our plans assess priorities so that we are able to model the effects of this alongside other future changes and adapt our systems accordingly.

“We’re already working hard to use storm overflows less and we’re investing £100m a year to go even further in improving rivers so that nature can continue to thrive.

“As part of our Get River Positive commitments we will reduce the use of storm overflows to an average of 20 per year by 2025 and pledge that our operations will not be the reason for unhealthy rivers by 2030, based on Environment Agency measures.”