A constituent yesterday.

Government claims that the reduction of raw sewage being discharged into rivers and seas by water companies would cost up to £660bn are misleading and part of a misinformation campaign according to experts.

Conservative MPs released the figures as part of explanations to constituents as to why they voted down the original amendment which caused up uproar nationally.

All said it would be irresponsible for any government to make the discharges illegal while remedy would cost £150bn and £650bn to transform the entire sewage system. All blamed antiquidated systems despite the industry being privatised since 1990.

However leaked documents from the “storm overflows taskforce” ( Environment Agency, the water industry and Ofwat) which is yet to be published detail a range of lower-cost options for dealing with the worst and most damaging sewage discharges range from £3.9bn to £62.7bn, with an impact on average water bills of between £19 and £58 a year. Well within industry reach.

Sources say the figure of £660bn appears nowhere in the report!

Hugo Tagholm of the campaign group Surfers Against Sewage said putting a figure of £660bn into the public domain was misinformation designed to scare the public.

“The figures are somewhere in the region of between £3.7bn and £62.bn to deal with the worst of the sewage pollution. This is well within the profits and dividends of these companies and if it were to be passed on to the bill-payer, it could be done at an affordable level.”

The report also contains a plan to reduce spills from storm overflows to an average of 10 a year in sensitive areas costing between £13.5bn and £21.7bn.

Christine Colvin, from the Rivers Trust also dismissed the claim that tackling problem required the complete separation of the sewerage systems.

“Nobody is proposing digging up our entire sewerage network and starting from scratch.”

“We know that nature based solutions are more difficult to cost, but in some places can be cheaper. They also bring multiple benefits – they help nature’s recovery, can provide new green and blue spaces and take up rather than emit carbon.

A wide range of coastal MPs used the misleading figures and claims of digging up the infrastructure in statements to their constituents while ignoring the other lower cost analysis.

Steve Double, Newquay posted this. The expert body claimed an impact on average water bills of between £19 and £58 a year was well within industry reach.