Shocking footage of raw sewage being pumped into the sea has emerged and highlighted how MPs voted against cracking down on the practice. 

Last October proposals to make water companies reduce discharges were rejected by 265 MPs – including Watford’s Dean Russell, Hertsmere’s Oliver Dowden, and South West Herts’ Gagan Mohindra.

Videos showing "horrendous" sewage seeping into waterways went viral in recent days, with Brighton’s beaches among dozens on the south coast forced to close. 

The footage sparked outrage online with one from a tourist hotspot in Sussex getting more than a million views. 

Thames Water has been asked if it recently released raw sewage into local rivers the Chess, Colne and Gade. Updates to follow.

A spokesperson said: "Our aim will always be to try and do the right thing for our rivers and for the communities who love and value them.

"We regard all discharges of untreated sewage as unacceptable and will work with the government, Ofwat and the Environment Agency to accelerate work to stop them being necessary and are determined to be transparent."

Mr Dowden said last year’s proposal would have required “replumbing of England’s sewers, with cost estimates running into the hundreds of billions”.

He added: “I welcome the steps that the government is taking to tackle this issue, through the Environment Act 2021 and the Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan.

“This comes alongside £7 billion of investment committed to environmental improvements by water companies between 2020 and 2025.” 

Tory MPs Dean Russell and Gagan Mohindra did not respond to requests for comment.

Some critics say Brexit is a factor behind the discharges, as they claim the government relaxed dumping laws because it can’t get chemicals needed to treat raw sewage to water companies due to lorry driver shortages. 

Mr Dowden was asked if he thinks the problem is linked to Brexit. He said it had been caused by “recent heavy rain on dry ground overwhelming the sewage system”.

Thames Water was also asked if Brexit was a factor. It has not responded.

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