A Suffolk councillor is calling on the county’s local authority leaders to fight an "atrocious" decision to delay the cleaning up of waterways in England by 36 years.

Cllr Peter Byatt, who represents Kirkley and Pakefield on East Suffolk Council, wants the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders Group - which includes the heads of county, district and borough councils - to write to Suffolk MPs and the Environment Agency expressing concern about the "serious delay in dealing with such an important matter which affects all of Suffolk’s residents and visitors".

He has tabled a motion calling for the letter to be sent, which will be discussed at this Wednesday's East Suffolk Council meeting.

In December, the EADT reported how the agency had moved back its original 2027 deadline for agricultural and sewage pollution to be cleared from rivers, coastal waters and lakes to 2063 as many of these waterbodies were set to miss the target date.

However, Mr Byatt said 2063 was a "ridiculous target time" and feared water company Anglian Water, which is responsible for water supply and sewage treatment in Suffolk, would no longer prioritise much needed improvements to the sewage system.

He said: “I think it is atrocious. What we would also like to change is that we keep on having housing developments but the sewage system is not able to cope and Anglian Water is not obliged to extend the sewage system to cope with it.

“Anglian Water is not a statutory consultee when housing developments are built.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Peter Byatt has tabled a motion at this Wednesday's East Suffolk Council meetingCllr Peter Byatt has tabled a motion at this Wednesday's East Suffolk Council meeting (Image: Maxine Clarke)

He cited a number of incidents where sewage was released, including a spill on a Lowestoft beach during the summer and said Anglian Water had a responsibility to "plough its profits" back into improving sewage treatment plants for residents who paid water rates.

Figures from Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) revealed that during the last summer season, from June 1 to September 15, Anglian Water discharged sewage into waterways for 235 hours.

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Jenny CeresaCllr Jenny Ceresa (Image: East Suffolk Council)

East Suffolk Council chair Jenny Ceresa has already written a letter to Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and the Environment Agency calling for "urgent action" to be taken to address the situation.

The council has outlined five measures for Anglian Water to take, including action to reduce sewer discharges, improved water quality checks, equipping sites with functioning monitors, improved communications with the council and reductions in surface water run-off to prevent sewers from being overwhelmed.

An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “Protecting, restoring and improving our region’s environment is at the heart of our business and we take this responsibility incredibly seriously.

"Our Get River Positive programme, which launched earlier this year, is our commitment to transform river water quality across the region.

She said £200m had been reinvested to reduce storm spills as part of a commitment to ensure that overflows are not causing pollution by 2030.

“Our focus on protecting the environment remains resolute - we’re ahead of schedule delivering our £800 million programme of investment to benefit the environment.

"We know there’s no room for complacency and we’re absolutely determined to make meaningful progress towards achieving our zero pollutions goal.”