Fawlty valves and bacterial infections

Brixham Harbour. The copyright on this image is owned by Richard Croft  and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence.

A year on from MP Anthony Mangnall’s Brixham meeting: no-one’s laughing at the farce of our water supply.

Last April I attended the first of MP Anthony Mangnall’s public meetings with South West Water. They were eventually held right across the constituency, and were much publicised by the MP as an opportunity to ‘hold South West Water to account’. At the time I was hugely sceptical of their motivation for holding these sessions and, critically, the prospect of any real impact; so much so, I not only felt compelled to hold my own MP to account in the meeting itself (whilst confronted by a wall of irate Conservative councillors), but also to write about the experience.

A year on from what I saw as pure PR exercise, it seems that not only has very little of any substance really changed, but things have actually got worse. The dangerous cryptosporidium outbreak across Brixham and the wider area shows just how far basic essential services have been stripped by privatisation and a Conservative government intent on cutting funding for vital monitoring and regulatory services such as the Environment Agency. At every step it seems our UK Government – supported by its slavish Conservative MPs – have loopholed any legislation that would have had teeth. At every step, they have undermined regulatory bodies in an ideological, EU-divergent drive that continues to be incredibly damaging to our nation’s health. 

During this Brixham meeting a year ago, I challenged Mr Mangnall about the fact that the Environment Agency’s protection budget had been cut by 56 per cent since 2010. Mr Mangnall gave an astonishing reply, laying the blame firmly not on the chronic funding cuts, but on the Environment Agency itself! With a straight face, he stated that the problem was that the EA employed 10,000 people and just simply wasn’t efficient.

Read what else was discussed, and how not only South West Water but our Government and Conservative MPs have let us down- with life threatening consequences. One can only imagine what might happen a year from now if something drastic doesn’t change.

It’s a farce that needs to end, because no-one is laughing. It’s high time for the main players to leave the set, and it’s high time to change the script.