'Enough is enough' - Falmouth protest calls for an end to sewage pollution

120 people gathered on Gyllyngvase Beach today (6 November) to protest against sewage pollution around Cornwall's coastline.

The protest was organised by the group She Swims Falmouth to call on politicians to stop companies, like South West Water, from using local beaches to dump sewage into the sea.

On Monday 8 November, MPs in Westminster will be voting on an amendment which could ban this. The amendment is part of the Environment Bill, but it was previously rejected by the House of Commons. It then went to the House of Lords and was amended.

Grace Fisher hopes Cornwall's MPs will vote in favour of the amendment. Credit: ITV West Country

Grace Fisher, organiser of the She Swims Falmouth protest, said: "Water companies have not been legally required to not do this. With raw sewage in the ocean, people do not want to swim here. The fact that we're in the 21st century and water companies are still doing this, is just not ok."

Many regular sea swimmers attended the protest and spoke angrily about how often Gyllyngvase Beach is out of action.

One protestor said: "I've noticed a massive change in the number of sewage alerts that we get. It used to be three a year, now it's every week."

Another said: "When you look out the sea and see great big brown swirls, it's not nice. I had cancer last year and I've got to be really careful with my immune system."

One attendee said the number of sewage alerts has increased from three a year to one a week. Credit: ITV West Country

South West Water said it understands that water quality is important to its customers and will "continue to work with communities and partners" to improve river quality and protect bathing waters.

The company is already delivering an improvement plan which includes, increasing monitoring, reducing usage of storm overflows, building on our track record of improving bathing beaches across the South West.

A South West Water spokesperson said: “In the last 30 years, we have invested £9bn in our region, across our infrastructure and treatment works, and we have improved performance for our customers and the environment.

“Our proven track record of improving bathing waters has delivered 97% of waters rated as good or excellent, compared to 28% as excellent in 1991.

“We will continue to invest in storm overflows and to further enhance monitoring, reporting and data sharing to improve awareness, understanding and transparency of this issue.”

Hundreds of climate activists marched through the streets of Truro. Credit: Jory Mundy

It is midway through the COP26 conference in Glasgow and today (6 November), hundreds of thousands of people across the world have taken part in Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.

In Cornwall, climate activists marched through the streets of Penzance and Truro to express their views on how the region's environment could be better protected.

Monica Schneider from West Cornwall's Friends of the Earth said: "The whole exploitation of nature cannot continue on a finite planet. And we have to work towards a cyclical and sustainable economy."

The COP26 conference ends on Friday 12 November.