Residents in Staveley are being urged to protect the river Kent from discharges of raw sewage.

The move is being made ahead of the visit of United Utilities CEO Louise Beardmore on September 29.

The company have been blamed by the 'Clean up the River Kent' campaign for the water pollution.

In a letter addressed to Mrs Beardmore, the group said: "During 2022, United Utilities discharged untreated sewage from the Staveley Wastewater Treatment Works into the river Kent for a total of 4,064 hours.

"Since 2017, there have been 61 discharges of raw sewage from the United Utilities sewage system onto the streets of Staveley."

The campaigners went on to say that it was 'unacceptable' for local children to be forced to walk through sewage to get to school.The Westmorland Gazette: The river Kent has been polluted by large amounts of sewage over the yearsThe river Kent has been polluted by large amounts of sewage over the years (Image: Google Maps)

"The unique ecology and wildlife of the river Kent will slowly be destroyed as a result of pollution in the river.

"It is an SSSI, has European conservation status and flows through a UNESCO world heritage site - does that not count for nothing?"

A spokesperson for United Utilities explained that they have been working with the parish council and the Clean River Kent group, and that this will continue.

"We’ve included in our forthcoming business plan a project to improve Staveley wastewater treatment works to reduce the frequency of storm water releases into the River Kent," they added. 

"However, surface water remains an issue and we are working with the council on opportunities to remove surface water from the sewer system to reduce the likelihood of localised flooding."

The group, however, have claimed that this is not enough, asking for there to be zero discharge.

The petition will be presented to Mrs Beardmore at the end of the month and a digital version can be found here.

The letter can also be signed physically and dropped off by September 22 at boxes in Wilfs Cafe, Beehive Post Office or in St James' Parish Church.