A new “leaky dam” is set to be installed by the end of the year to help deal with sewage being dumped into rivers.

Bolton West MP Chris Green says that this on course to be installed at the Smithills Country Estate at Winter Hill by the end of the year.

He says that this will work like a “beavers dam”, holding up water in a storm that would otherwise overwhelm the sewage system around Winter Hill.

Mr Green said: “It should be installed by the end of this year and if it hadn’t been for the general election being called then we would already be looking at site visits.

“Projects like these are a really big part of improving our flood defences in the area and really making sure that we prevent sewage discharge.”

Sewage dumping in the waterways has been a long running concernSewage dumping in the waterways has been a long running concern (Image: Paul Blinkhorn)

Mr Green said that this would dovetail with other projects across the Bolton West area aimed at tackling sewage discharge and flooding.

But this comes with sewage dumping haven proven to be a contentious topic over recent months.

In May this year figures from the Rivers Trust showed that in 2023 sewage was dumped into waterways across the Bolton West area, which includes Winter Hill, for 6,100 continuous hours.

Conservative Mr Green’s Labour opponent Phil Brickell says this amounts to “systematic dumping with “water bosses not being held to account.”

Mr Brickell said: “That’s why Labour will reform the planning system to ensure we do get the critical infrastructure we so desperately need, as well as holding the water firms to account with mandatory discharge monitoring, fines and personal criminal liability where water bosses oversee continued sewage dumping.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Donald McIntosh has also made sewage dumping a key part of his campaign.

Also in May, his party said that figures from the House of Commons Library showed that across the whole of Bolton sewage had been dumped for 28,179 hours in 2023.

Mr McIntosh said: “On doorstep after doorstep, people in Bolton West are telling us how furious they were that filthy sewage had been pumped into their rivers and waterways, they want to send this Conservative government a message. 

“The Liberal Democrats have led the way for years in campaigning for tougher action.

“We want to see a tougher water regulator, an end to bonuses for polluting water company bosses and stronger protections for our local environment.”

Green candidate Vicki Attenborough has argued that the only way to prevent sewage dumping like this is by taking the water companies into public ownership.

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She said: “For decades water companies have been paying their executives and shareholders money that should and could have been invested in improved water infrastructure.

“This needs to stop and the only way to do that is to bring water companies back into public ownership so that our water bill payments can contribute towards cleaning up water pollution instead of going into the pockets of shareholders and executives.”

Also standing in Bolton West are Dylan Evans of Reform UK and Patrick McGrath of the English Democrats.

The general election will be held on Thursday July 4.