Published On: Tue, Apr 9th, 2024

Feargal Sharkey joins protest to save Lake Windermere from sewage poisoning water | UK | News

Feargal Sharkey joined hundreds of people demonstrating against ­sewage pollution poisoning England’s ­largest lake.

The Undertones star, 65, and locals rallied outside United Utilities’ hub in Windermere yesterday after the firm dumped 8,700 hours of sewage into the Lake District spot last year.

Mr Sharkey claimed: “I’m here outside the epicentre of the largest sewage dumper in the country, United Utilities. The people of Windermere are none too happy their lake has become an open cesspit driven by nothing more than corporate greed.”

He said United Utilities paid their shareholders £400million over 18 months and £30million to their ­former chief executive Steve Mogford in his 12 years as boss of the firm.

Feargal also blasted regulators’ ­“complete incompetence”.

He said: “If these people are not sending the message that the country’s had enough and this needs to change then I’m really sorry Mr United Utilities, Mr Ofwat and Mr Environment Agency. The game is up.

“You’ve got one last chance to fix this. Make it good.” Matt Staniek, 28, began the Monday demos outside the water firm 23 weeks ago after breaking his neck and seeking refuge at Windermere as he recovered.

He said: “Windermere is a lake which essentially traps everything that is dumped into it. This is people’s lake.

Hospitality ­manager Sarah Wilson, 47, has joined almost every protest and took her ­children Finn, 12, Quinn, 10, and Kit, five, yesterday.

She said: “It’s a serious issue. My kids are starting to get ­worried about swimming in the lake.

“I have to be really wary about where we swim to make sure we’re not swimming near a discharge outlet.

“I want them to be able to jump off the jetty and not worry about the water.” Sarah also voiced her fears about the impact on tourism.

She said it won’t be “an immediate death of the lake” but warned the future of their town depends on the millions of tourists who visit every year. 

Tim Farron, the local Lib Dem MP, also attended the protest and called the sewage dumps “deeply troubling”, adding that most of United Utilities’ assets around the lake have not been upgraded for decades.

He said: “Water companies need to be changed to public benefit companies”.

United Utilities said: “We have proposed a £14billion ambitious investment programme to help us respond to the challenges of climate change and the new ­requirements to cut spills from storm overflows. But we can only deliver that plan if we can secure the backing of big investors.”

Up to £11million in water company fines and penalties will be reinvested back into a new Water Restoration Fund, Environment Secretary Steve Barclay will announce today.

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