River pollution group underway

Sewage on the River South Esk.Sewage on the River South Esk.
Sewage on the River South Esk.
A group set up to address serious issues with the River Esk’s pollution has held its first meeting.

The inaugural meeting of the Esk River Improvement Group took place earlier this month.

The meeting was hosted by local MSP, Colin Beattie, and was attended by key stakeholders including SEPA, Scottish Water, the Coal Authority, East Lothian Council, Community Councils, and other local, interested bodies.

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The group has been set up following on-going issues with the river’s cleanliness, as a result of various factors which includes mine water discharge, and combined sewage overflows.

Colin commented: “The issues with the River Esk have been ongoing for a long time and I know that my constituents are frustrated that no permanent solutions have ever been found. I wanted to establish a group where we look at the overall health of the River Esk and bring together those who are already working to make improvements to the quality of the water. It is much easier to see a result when we are all working collectively to resolve an issue, and that is the exact purpose of this forum.

“As well as bodies such as SEPA, Scottish Water and the Coal Authority, it was also important to me that members of the community were involved, and I am pleased that we have many representatives from our community councils working with the group, and also some local establishments such as Newbattle Abbey College and Musselburgh Racecourse. It is heartening that so many people are willing to commit to volunteering their time to make active change on this matter.

“I was pleased to discuss what progress is being made on these matters already, as well as thinking forward to establish what we need to do to stop these issues arising again in the future.

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“All constituents also have a part to play in this, by ensuring they understand what not to flush down the toilet and by helping to educate others. Lessening the amount of sewage debris, which is often full of flushed wipes and sanitary towels, is an essential part in maintaining the cleanliness of the River.

“I am very pleased that the Coal Authority are putting in place a system to clean the mining discharge from Junkie’s Adit, and also that Scottish Water, supported by SEPA, are actively working to undertake clean ups on the Esk and improve their existing systems to prevent sewage spills.”

River pollution should be reported to SEPA via the online tool.

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