Local children left out by Tory rejection of sickness compensation scheme

14 Dec 2023
Teenager Ethan Thelwell by the Rover Goyt

A sickness compensation scheme which would have allowed anyone who gets sick as a result of illegal sewage dumping to claim compensation from water companies has been turned down by the Tory Government.

Local teenager Ethan Thelwell (pictured) found out to his own cost the true extent of the terrible ecological health of the local waterways, when he and some friends went out in the River Goyt last year to celebrate the end of their summer term.

He said: “After breaking up for the summer holidays we wanted to celebrate in a fitting manner. We headed down to the Goyt River in Brabyns Park and decided to go for a swim. All seven of us spent no more than 20 minutes in a calm and shallow section of the river yet we still suffered the consequences. Every single one of us was bedridden for at least the following week experiencing symptoms including frequent vomiting, nausea and high fevers.

“Two of my friends also developed a stubborn ear infection which remained for over a month. This was not a one-off situation as many others I know have also experienced this. Consequently, we have not returned to the river since and we shall not until we see clear evidence that the health of the river has been significantly improved. This shouldn't have to be the case.”

A recent report found a staggering 1,924 cases of people like Ethan getting sick due to suspected sewage pollution over the last year, nearly triple the number of cases reported in the previous year.

Liberal Democrat Lisa Smart, the MP candidate for Hazel Grove constituency said: “It’s shameful that this Conservative government have once again put water companies’ profits before people’s health.

“It is a complete slap in the face to young people like Ethan who have suffered the consequences of what should have been a fun time in the summer. This Government has instead chosen to support massive companies who have dumped filthy sewage into our rivers and lakes.

“It is a sad state of affairs when swimmers are falling seriously sick from sewage while water company bosses trouser millions in bonuses.”