The River Sewage Pollution Scandal – with Prof Peter Hammond and Ash Smith

Saturday 14th October 2023 2:00PM – 2:00PM
Location/Venue: Cellar Bar Kennaway House EX10 8NG

Inland and coastal waters in the UK continue to receive a barrage of sewage and agricultural pollution. In England, only 14% of rivers are classified by the Environment Agency with good ecological status.

The images illustrate the decline of the River Windrush in West Oxfordshire that motivated WASP’s formation by Ash Smith in 2018.

The talk will 

  • illustrate the damage sewage pollution causes to rivers
  • demonstrate how regulation has floundered
  • show the simple analysis that can detect illegal discharges of untreated sewage
  • explain the financial engineering that has robbed customers and rewarded investors
  • review ongoing legal challenges to the water industry and government

Peter retired as Professor of Computational Biology at UCL and then worked briefly at Oxford’s Big Data Institute. His research pioneered AI and 3D facial analysis in the study of  genetic and foetal alcohol syndromes.

Ash has a lifelong love and respect for the natural world, transitioned from angler to scuba diver, and retired as Police Detective Superintendent before moving inevitably into environmental activism.

Photo credit: Sam Frost/The Guardian