YORK Outer Conservative MP Julian has hit out at Labour’s “lies and mistruths” about storm overflows and sewage.

The MP has clashed with his Labour opponent Luke Charters, who issued a statement attacking Mr Study over the issue.

The spat comes as the Environment Agency reports record levels of sewage discharges, with 6,529 hours recorded in York Outer alone in 2023.

The agency reports a 43% increase in sewage discharges in 2023, with the number of spills across Yorkshire and Humber up from 54,723 in 2022 to 77,761 last year.


The latest figures also show the number of bathing waters in England receiving a classification of “poor” were at their highest since 2015.

In addition, a recent project by Dr John Wilkinson of the University of York showed E.Coli and total coli form bacteria far above minimum bathing water standards in the South Beck and River Foss at Strensall Bridge.

In his statement, Mr Charters, who polls predict will beat Mr Sturdy at the General Election, the Labour candidate says the Tory government has adopted Labour’s plan to ban bonuses for water company bosses who fail to prevent illegal sewage spills that fail to prevent illegal sewage spills that pollute rivers, lakes and seas.

York Press: Labour candidate Luke Charters

Rather than imposing the ban with immediate effect the government instead launched a consultation to define the criteria for a ban.

Mr Charters wants an immediate ban, saying under Labour’s plans the OFWAT regulator could have blocked six out of nine water bosses’ bonuses due to the level of discharges.

Accusing Mr Sturdy of being ‘an absent MP’, the Labour candidate continued: “The voting record of York Outer’s Conservative MP, Julian Sturdy, speaks for itself. He voted against Labour’s plans last year to end sewage dumping and impose automatic fines on companies.”

After accusing Labour of “lies and mistruths” over sewage, Mr Sturdy said it was time to set the record straight.

Every storm system in the world combines sewage and overflow pipes and Lrather than flow into waterways, Labour’s plan would lead to sewage backing up in the system and into homes.

“I repeat, Labour's plan would mean raw sewage in our homes,” he responded.

The sitting MP further said the issue is being talked of not because the rivers are worse than before, but since the last Labour government the number of overflows being monitored has risen from 5% to almost 100%.

He continued: “The Conservatives wanted to know where the sewage overflows were happening so we can fix the problem and target upgrades where needed. We have also increased the number of substances water is tested to ensure that water that passes is of the highest quality.”

Far from ignoring the issue, Mr Sturdy says he backed a Private Members Bill, which aims to hold water companies more accountable for sewage overflows.

“On the back of that effort the Government has since introduced record fines on water companies.”

Mr Sturdy added: “I will also meet Yorkshire Water in the coming weeks at Clifton Waterworks to discuss recent overflows in the Ouse and will push them on their upgrade plans so our waterways can be overflow free as soon as possible.”