MORE sewage was dumped into the river Severn in 2023 compared to the previous year.

According to data from the Environment Agency, Worcester experienced 248 recorded sewage dumps in 2023 - 99 more than in 2022.

These sewage dumps recorded from across Worcester's eight sites lasted 2,170 hours in total, more than double the 1,076 hours of sewage dumps recorded the year before.

In July 2023, a report from the Angling Trust and Water Quality Monitoring Network found that concentrations of nitrate and phosphate, which can both be harmful to the ecosystem in high quantities, in the river around Diglis were significantly higher than the upper limit expected.

Gareth Mead, Severn Trent Water's river ranger manager, said: "While there are many factors that contribute to river health, we're making progress in playing our part to reduce our impact on the River Severn. This includes investing millions of pounds improving our network across Worcestershire to reduces spill from from overflows.

"All of this is alongside our recently announced £450 million engineering programme that will install new solutions at 900 sites across the Midlands by the end of the year. 

"Around £13 million is earmarked specifically for Worcestershire and our aim is that this work will help us reduce spills by 20 per cent a year."

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A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: "Current water policy for rivers and open water in England is mainly designed to protect wildlife rather than for the protection of human health.

"Bacteria and pathogens found in sewage and animal slurry pose the two biggest risks to human health, whereas these largely do not affect wildlife and therefore haven't been subject to controls in the past.

"Anyone can become unwell when swimming in open waters."

The Environment Agency has been working to improve the River Severn in several ways, the spokesperson explained: "We have improved 190km of waterways on the River Severn in the last year alone by managing the river for the benefit of the public, navigation and abstractors."