Yorkshire family’s real life ‘horror story’ as sewage floods home

A Yorkshire MP is seeking justice for a family whose home was ruined by sewage water flooding into their home and garden.

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, fought the corner of a mother and her young family in the House of Commons this week. The family lived a ‘horror story’ when sewage flooded into their home and garden, destroying their belongings following recent heavy rainfall.

Mr Betts said it was difficult to imagine the awfulness of the situation but described how the carpets, floorboards and furnishings were ruined. He said Yorkshire Water chose not to compensated the family, citing the 1991 Water Services Act which states there is no obligation for water companies to compensate in the event of exceptional weather.

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Mr Betts said: “It’s unbelievable that this is allowed to happen, and speaks to the fundamental unfairness that allows water companies to get off scot-free. It also speaks to this government’s fundamental timidity in failing to stand up to big companies like Yorkshire Water and tell them it’s time they pay up for their mistakes.“Whether it be sewage overflowing into people’s homes and our beaches or leaking pipes spilling our drinking water our government has proven time and time again to be incapable in confronting the root of the problem, and often times being complicit in it by not changing legislation. Meanwhile, my constituents have to deal with the very real consequences.”

Clive Betts has been fighting the corner of a Yorkshire familyClive Betts has been fighting the corner of a Yorkshire family
Clive Betts has been fighting the corner of a Yorkshire family

He called on government to amend the ‘dated’ legislation.

George Eustice, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, replied: “The episode the honourable gentlemen describes is probably linked to a failure somewhere in the sewage infrastructure rather than at storm overflows per se and that is a slightly separate issue. If he would like to write to me I will look at the specific case that he raises.”

A Yorkshire Water spokesperson said: “Flows through the sewer networks in Sheffield increased significantly during a period of torrential rain on 16 August, which unfortunately caused damage to our network and sewage to escape in the local area. We understand how distressing this can be for the customers impacted and have carried out a clean-up.”