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MP Jamie Stone slams ‘disgusting’ figures that show sewage was dumped in the Highlands nearly 1500 times last year

By Gordon Calder

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Sewage was dumped in the Highland area almost 1500 times last year – a figure described as "disgusting" by far north MP Jamie Stone.

He has urged the SNP and Greens to “stop defending outdated sewage standards” and stressed that the Scottish Liberal Democrats have announced plans for a Clean Water Act.

Jamie Stone wants to see improvements in water quality. Picture: Alan Hendry
Jamie Stone wants to see improvements in water quality. Picture: Alan Hendry

Analysis of the new Scottish Water data found that sewage was dumped 1439 times in the Highland Council area in 2023.

The Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP said a total of 535,917 cubic metres of sewage was dumped for over 8100 hours.

He also pointed out that the amount of dumped sewage is up by 15.1 per cent compared to 2022 when the figure was 1250. Only 22 overflows in the Highlands were monitored, according to the data.

Mr Stone said the the proposed Clean Water Act would see:

• Every sewage dump monitored and published with binding targets for their reduction.

• A blue flag system for Scotland's rivers.

• A complete ban on the release of sewage in protected areas such as bathing waters.

Commenting on the figures, Mr Stone said: “It is disgusting to learn that sewage was dumped into our waterways almost 1500 times last year.”

But he added: “Even that figure is likely to be a significant underestimation because only a small fraction of sewer overflows across Scotland is monitored. Scotland is way behind England where nearly every overflow is monitored.

“To make matters worse, while our waterways are destroyed, customers in the Highland area are facing huge price rises from the government-owned water company and its executives are pocketing bumper bonuses.

“The SNP and Green ministers must stop acting as spin doctors for these outdated sewage standards and get tough with Scottish Water.”

In Orkney, sewage was dumped 1306 times – up by 93.5 per cent compared to 2022 when the figure was 675. By contrast, Shetland recorded a drop in the occasions sewage was dumped there – down by 28.1 per cent from 57 in 2022 to 41 last year.

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