Extinction Rebellion protesters have unveiled a toilet plaque criticising a Wiltshire MP during a protest at her offices.

The activist group staged a protest against Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan’s vote to block an amendment to the 2021 Environment Bill, making it harder for water companies to dump sewage into British waters, at her New Road office on Saturday, January 29.

Ms Donelan was one of 265 Tory MPs who voted against the House of Lords amendment which would have placed legal duties on companies to reduce discharges, although the government claim the bill already contained safeguards.

Chippenham’s Extinction Rebellion group unveiled a blue plaque fixed to a small toilet which claimed Ms Donelan “voted to block a law requiring water companies to dump less raw sewage in our waterways and seas”, on October 20, 2021.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The plaque commemorated the 2021 vote.The plaque commemorated the 2021 vote. (Image: Extinction Rebellion)

The stunt was part of a national day of action to highlight the pollution of many of the UK’s waterways.

A plaque was also placed for James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire, in his constituency, after he abstained from the vote.

Extinction Rebellion Chippenham spokesperson Mel Moden said: “We’ve watched in horror as our rivers and seas have become open sewers since October 2021, when the government voted down a proposal to stop water companies pumping waste directly into our waterways.

“They justified this by claiming that the proposal was too expensive. These plaques shine a light on the government’s failure to protect our waterways, the natural world, and all of us.”

The group also visited the town bridge where, according to the River Trust, a sewer storm overflow spilled 49 times in 2021, causing sewage to pour into the River Avon for a total of 58 hours.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Ms Donelan said: “There has been a lot of misinformation about sewage in the media and I want to clear up the headlines.

“I did not vote to allow water companies to pump sewage into our rivers as Extinction Rebellion Chippenham are suggesting. I voted in favour of a whole raft of measures which are fully costed, deliverable and will not place ridiculous burdens on residents.

“I have been clear that the current use of storm overflows by water companies is completely unacceptable, which is why in August last year we launched the most ambitious plan to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows in history.

“To crack down on this, in October, we increased the cap for fines to £250 million and are speeding up the process. We will continue to act on this as a government.”