Water bills could be raised in a bid to stop companies from dumping raw sewage.

Cotswold MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has floated the idea of increasing bills to stop storm sewage discharges.

It comes as MPs packed Westminster Hall to raise concerns over sewage.

He said: “British water bills are amongst the lowest in Europe. There is therefore, if we wish to clean up our rivers, scope for increasing our water bills. Let’s make the Environment Act work.

“Publish the data, Government gets the plans, sends them off to Ofwat. Ofwat allows more investment to stop storm discharges, but the worst of all discharges are not in storm time, they are occurring most of the time.

“Give the Environment Agency enough resources not only to police discharges, but to make prosecutions quicker and easier.”

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

Storm overflows are intended for use following periods of heavy rainfall, in an effort to prevent flooding to homes and businesses.

However, Conservative MP Huw Merriman, who brought the Westminster debate, believes that the country’s sewage system isn’t up to scratch.

He said: “Our sewage system is not fit for purpose, yet we keep on building homes in these areas and making the situation worse… Every discharge impacts our environment, our marine life, our ability to enjoy it and to make a living from it. It can no longer be tolerated.”

The Government’s storm overflows discharge reduction plan “could be more ambitious with the deadlines to eradicate storm overflows”, Mr Merriman added.

Environment minister Trudy Harrison said the Government will not hesitate to use “all options” against breaches of storm overflow.

“We will not hesitate to use all options for robust enforcement action against breaches of storm overflow,” she said.

“It can include criminal prosecution by the Environment Agency. Water companies must clean up their act and this Government will not hesitate to hold them to account.

“Our storm overflows discharge reduction plan will see £56 billion in capital investment by 2050, the largest infrastructure programme in water company history.”