Emergency bid to Council for better water testing after Sunderland Triathlon scandal

8 Aug 2023

Liberal Democrat councillors from across Sunderland are calling on the Chief Executive to convene an emergency, extraordinary meeting of all 75 city councillors as soon as possible to get to the bottom of the incident and agree a way forward to reassure the public.

Opposition councillors want to see a debate and vote on their plan to make Council bosses:

  • Start an independent Council-led testing process for assessing the water quality off Sunderland’s beaches.
  • Set up an independent public inquiry into why the World Triathlon Championship Series Event was allowed to go ahead.
  • Commission a full independent investigation and survey of the sewage system and outflows into the River Wear and North Sea off Sunderland.
  • Provide an urgent update on how this situation was allowed to happen given the Council’s duty of care to participants and to safeguarding public health; and whether the water off beaches in Sunderland is safe to swim in.

Lib Dem councillors have been campaigning for years to get the Council to take Northumbrian Water to task for the persistent dumping of raw sewage off the Wearside coast.

Lib Dem councillor for the seaside Fulwell and Seaburn areas of the city Malcolm Bond said “This incident has put Sunderland in the headlines across the country for all the wrong reasons. It’s a complete disgrace.If Sunderland Council knew the water was unsafe then they should have cancelled the event. If they didn’t know whether or not the water was unsafe then they have completely failed in their duty of care to participants and to public health."

“The public deserve the truth. That’s why Lib Dem councillors are demanding that Sunderland Council starts its own regular testing and publishes the results. It is only by independent testing – together with a full inquiry into what happened at the Triathlon and an independent survey of the sewage systems in Sunderland – that the Council can start to give the public the truth and the reassurance they need about swimming at Roker and Seaburn in the future.”

Malcolm Bond at the Beach

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