French MEPs demand EU action over UK sewage discharge into Channel

Three French MEPs are calling on Brussels to take action against the UK after it allowed a significant amount of raw sewage to be dumped in the English Channel and the North Sea.

“We fear negative consequences on the quality of the marine waters we share with this country and incidentally on marine biodiversity but also on the activities of fishermen and shellfish farmers,” the three MEPs wrote in their letter to the European Commission. 

Pierre Karleskind, Nathalie Loiseau and Stéphanie Yon-Courtin, all three from the centrist Renew group in the European Parliament, accused the UK of “exempting itself from environmental requirements” set out in EU legislation.

They also stressed that the UK has obligations under the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement — a Brexit treaty — and that it is a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 

“Despite this, the UK has chosen to lower its water quality standards. This is unacceptable and calls into question the efforts made by EU Member States over the last twenty years. The UK is committed to preserving the seas that surround it and that we share!” they wrote in a letter to environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius.

“We call on the Commission to use all political and legal means at its disposal to stop this situation,” they added.

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