I see water companies pumping untreated sewage into our rivers and seas is back in the news.

There are two reasons why this is on the agenda again. Firstly, official figures were released last week that revealed there was an average of 825 sewage spills per day into England’s waterways last year.

To be honest, I find the concept of pumping raw poo into our rivers all a bit medieval in what is one of the wealthiest countries in the world but the fact remains companies are allowed to discharge untreated sewage into rivers in ‘exceptional’ circumstances – usually after heavy rain.

The alternative, the water companies tell us, is that if they didn’t release untreated faeces into our waterways it would back up and we would literally have sewage in the streets.

The second reason sewage dumping is back in the news is simply political.

Large parts of the country – including both Cheshire councils – will be voting in local elections next month and clean water has become something of a political hot topic.

And it’s quite remarkable what a little bit of electoral pressure can achieve.

Environment secretary Thérèse Coffey had seemed quite relaxed about untreated human waste floating down our rivers.

Staggeringly she told parliament that meeting polluting water bosses wasn’t her priority but with an election looming, Ms Coffey has developed a new sense of urgency.

At the time of writing, Ms Coffey wants to remove the current cap of £250,000 for penalties on firms that release sewage into waterways, as well as giving the Environment Agency the power to impose sanctions without going through the courts.

While I am deeply cynical about the blatant political motivation behind this sudden change of direction, I suppose I should be grateful the government is at least doing something.

There are some facts I would like to share with you.

Water companies discharged sewage into our rivers for 1.8 million hours in 2022. And which company topped the list? Yes you guessed it, United Utilities with 425,491 hours, way ahead of second-placed South West on 290,271.

And Steve Mogford retired as chief executive of United Utilities last month. In the lead up to his departure he sold some shares he held in the company…to the value of value of £1,414,605.87.

Happy retirement Mr Mogford.

On another topic, it’s almost time to say cheers and raise a glass for Knutsford Beer Festival.

Yes, this is an unashamed plug for the festival which promises to be an absolutely brilliant event.

More than 1,000 guests visited the festival last year which raised £10,000 for good causes. This year, organisers hope to achieve an even higher figure for two charities that support the local community, Hope Central and the Toy Appeal and I wish them all the very best.

I have to confess I am a massive fan of the so-called craft beer scene and the line-up of north west craft beer breweries whose brews are available this year wouldn’t look out of place at a big city beer festival.

And it looks like it’s going to be a roaring success as the festival is moving to a new, bigger venue after a surge in ticket sales.

The event was due to be held at the town’s iconic 60 King Street but organisers now need more space to accommodate even more guests.

Andrew Malloy, festival chairman, said: “Tickets have been selling faster than ever before so we’ve taken the decision to move to Egerton Place again so that we can accommodate more people.

“We loved the idea of having the beer festival at 60 King Street, and we’re very grateful to Knutsford Town Council for the offer of using the building, but we need a bigger space.

“We’re thrilled to be back in Egerton Place because it was such a perfect venue for us last year.”

A choice of 45 craft beers and real ales hand-picked from breweries across the north west will be available. A selection of craft cider and lager alongside a dedicated wine and gin bar will be run by Morgan Edwards.

For more information, visit knutsfordbeerfestival.org.uk.