I join with my colleague Sue Hayman, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, when she says of the recent River Lea industrial oil spill: ‘We must try and stop this happening ever again’. 

I have written to the Environment Agency (EA), urging that action be taken to contain such waste spills into the river, and for longer term planning to make sure better provision is in place to tackle such crises.

Sue and I also recently hosted local campaigners, the EA, and the Canal & River Trust (CRT) at a roundtable meeting in Parliament. Campaigners, including the Lea Boaters collective, directly raised concerns about the delays and mistakes made by the EA in tackling the problem, and the lack of co-ordination between the EA and the CRT. The meeting focused on working towards a waste prevention strategy and a Lower Lea tactical plan.

All stakeholders need to work together to resolve pollution issues and create a healthier River Lea. I will continue to closely monitor this issue.