An interactive map shows how pollution is being emptied into rivers and bathing water around the UK - including in Essex.

The map, produced by charity The Rivers Trust, has been compiled using data from the Environment Agency and shows where the sewerage network overflows into rivers during heavy rain.

The Rivers Trust is advising people to avoid entering the water immediately downstream of these discharges and avoid the overflows - marked by brown circles - especially after it has been raining.

Be warned - you might not like what you discover!


Gazette: This map shows points in Colchester are the surrounding areaThis map shows points in Colchester are the surrounding area

A spokesperson for The Rivers Trust said: "At The Rivers Trust, we believe that people should be able to swim, paddle, catch and play without worrying about sewage pollution.

"That’s why we launched Together for Rivers: an ambitious campaign which hopes to see designated bathing waters introduced to well-used rivers in the UK.

"Until cleaner rivers become a reality, we will continue to fight for public access to data on sewage pollution.

"That’s why we created our Sewage Map, which gives details on the location and spill duration of CSOs across England and Wales."


Gazette: This is the situation in TendringThis is the situation in Tendring

Last week Southend's beaches were closed to the public due to a persistent sewage leak.

Anglian Water work on repairing the damaged sewer pipe continued long into the weekend and into this week.

A network of pipes and pumps above the ground has been installed, whic will divert water around the damaged pipe.

Braintree and Halstead

Gazette: These were the map points in the Braintree and Halstead areaThese were the map points in the Braintree and Halstead area

Three pumps are now operating, and a further two are set to be up and running this week.

Controversial vote by MPs

It comes after a majority vote by Conservative MPs against an amendment to the Environment Bill in the House of Commons last week.

Had the amendment been passed, it would have forced water companies to upgrade the sewer network to stop pumping raw sewage into rivers and the sea.

The move has been criticised by charity Surfers Against Sewage.

Maldon and the Dengie

Gazette: This was the situation in Maldon and parts of the DengieThis was the situation in Maldon and parts of the Dengie

A spokesperson said: "Putting this legal duty on water companies to take steps to reduce their reliance on CSO’s could have made a real difference by forcing water companies to finally tackle their shocking sewage pollution record."

Only 22 Conservatives - including Harwich and North Essex MP Sir Bernard Jenkin - rebelled against the Government by voting for an amendment to the Environment Bill, which would have forced a legal duty upon water companies not to pump sewage into waters.

Colchester's Will Quince was among one of the MPs who toed the party line, voting against the bill.

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South Essex

Gazette: These were the points across parts of Southend, Rayleigh and CanveyThese were the points across parts of Southend, Rayleigh and Canvey

He added: “Of course, I share the concerns of Colchester residents about the use of storm overflows.

“Any suggestion that MPs are not taking firm action on storm overflows is simply not true.

“The reality is this week Parliament voted in favour of taking a range of immediate steps to address storm overflows.

“These issues are, by their nature, complicated.”

To look at the map click here