A Cornwall MP has refuted the allegation that the Conservative Government has voted to ‘dump sewage onto beaches’.

Mann, the Conservative representative for North Cornwall, has spoken out following Surfers Against Sewage and Extinction Rebellion in the county staging ‘dirty water’ protests as part of a national day of action against sewage pollution.

Mr Mann was among Conservative MPs across the country who received a mock blue plaque to highlight those who did not vote in favour of an amendment which protesters say would have protected waterways.

Fellow Conservative Sheryll Murray, the MP for South East Cornwall, was also targeted by protesters, who demonstrated outside her office in the centre of Liskeard.

Mr Mann said: “The allegation that Conservative MPs have ‘voted to dump sewage onto beaches’ is false.

“Whilst I agree that the amount of sewage discharged by water companies into our rivers and seas is unacceptable, this is the first Government to set out expectations that water companies must take steps to significantly reduce storm overflows.

“This instruction will now be put on an enhanced legal footing.

“It is only because of the increased monitoring of storm overflows – directed by this Government – that we know how bad the problem really is.

“Since 2016, the number of outflows monitored has increased from six per cent to 90 per cent. That is one of the main reasons why the numbers of incidents are ‘increasing’.

“The measures supported by opposition MPs would not have banned sewage overflows – as some are falsely claiming.

“I am committed to seeing the end of combined sewer discharges over time.”

A spokesman for Surfers Against Sewage said: “We need an enhanced, world-leading testing regime which gives a true picture of the UK’s water quality.

“The Government must set out ambitious sewage legislation and legally-binding targets to end untreated sewage discharge in all bathing waters by 2030, and to reduce all untreated sewage discharges by 90 per cent by 2030.

“Water companies must put the environment and public health above shareholder profits and CEO bonuses.

“We need the agricultural industry to amend practices to improve water quality, and for the Government to provide effective support to encourage this.”