Essex Oyster Company will litigate sewage dumps in court

Toby Haward

A family-run oyster business plans to claim in court that the disposal of sewage endangers its survival.

Tom Haward, a director at Richard Haward's Oysters in Essex, claimed that the "relentless dumping of sewage into our seas" threatened the ecosystem that was necessary for the oysters that the company grew.

Currently, businesses have until 2050 to stop sewage discharges.

This legal action aims to pressure the government into introducing stricter deadlines and goals.

Beginning on Wednesday, Richard Haward's Oysters intend to provide testimony at the High Court.

The Haward family has grown oysters in Essex for eight generations and has sold them across the UK and overseas, according to Mr. Haward. Water quality is absolutely essential to our way of life. ".

Water flowing from a drain into a river
MPs from all parties have backed the legal challenge.

14,500 storm overflows were built into England's sewer system to prevent overloading during heavy rain. According to the Environment Agency, these overflows are now regularly used.

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) set a 2035 deadline for reducing the amount of sewage that enters bathing waters and other important ecological areas.

Companies have been given until 2050 to stop discharging products elsewhere.

In their argument that the plan is insufficient and permits water companies to pollute for an additional 27 years, Hugo Tagholm, the Marine Conservation Society, and Richard Haward's Oysters have received support from the Good Law Project.

If the case against Defra is successful, it could create a historic precedent that would allow others to use the Public Trust Doctrine, an old English legal doctrine, to force those in positions of authority to protect the environment.

"This is our chance to force the government to put in place a robust plan to put an end to the sewage scandal blighting our country," said Emma Dearnaley, legal director of the Good Law Project. ".

For a response, Defra has been contacted.

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