THE Royal Borough council leader has pledged he will add pressure to government on tightening river pollution rules despite voting against a motion asking him to do that an hour prior.

The government amended its environment bill in October forcing water companies to reduce the impact of storm sewage overflowing into rivers.

Councillor Amy Tisi’s (Lib Dem: Clewer East) motion stated unregulated pollution from microplastics, agriculture, and industrial and household chemicals remain a threat to wildlife and to the rivers.

She said: “Today, it would be foolhardy to swim in the Thames. A chemical cocktail of sewage, agricultural run-off, and road pollution combine to make a toxic environment not only for humans but for the wildlife that depends on the river.

Royal Borough Observer: Cllr Amy TisiCllr Amy Tisi

“Otters have been spotted near Windsor, but they need clean water to thrive. While I welcome the amendment to the environment bill, there is more that could be done to regulate the water companies beyond the progressive reductions in the amount they pollute.

“More substantial penalties need to be enforced against those who continue pump human waste, toilet paper, and used tampons into our river.”

Cllr Tisi’s motion, which was seconded by Lib Dem councillor Mandy Brar (Cookham & Bisham), requested council leader Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley & Waltham) to urge local MPs and Secretary of State George Eustice to call for government to restore its funding to the Environment Agency (EA)

It also advocates for greater enforcement through increasing the inspections of water companies, farms, and other bodies and request The Regional Director of the National Farmers’ Union for clarification on the action being taken locally by farmers to prevent nutrient run-off.

READ MORE: Council leader insists "no plans" to sell off Maidenhead town hall

The EA can investigate and sanction offenders, but the government has slashed its funding by 63 per cent, from £120m in 2009 to £40m in 2020, according to Cllr Karen Davies (Lib Dem: Clewer East),

Whilst sharing the “sentiments” of the motion, the council leader said he couldn’t support it, questioning if full council was the right platform to bring this to.

However, he said he will raise this issue with the Royal Borough MPs Adam Afriyie and Theresa May.

The motion was voted down by the ruling Tories at a full council meeting on Tuesday, January 25.

Despite voting against the motion, Cllr Johnson announced on Twitter an hour after the meeting he will be raising this issue to the Royal Borough MPs and government.

READ MORE: Maidenhead multi-storey car park nearing completion

He wrote: “Poor water quality and pollution in our rivers is a massive issue for many and that is why I will [be] raising this critical issue with our MPs and the relevant Minister at the earliest opportunity.”

Tory councillors also said it was more “sensible” to discuss this motion with the relevant lead members and there wasn’t enough time to discuss and consider the motion as it was published a week prior to the meeting.

Cllr Tisi said it was “extremely disappointing” the motion not being supported by the Tory group, adding it was the standard procedure to publish motions a week prior to the full council meeting.

Cllr Johnson was contacted for further comment.