Schools across Scotland report 88 sewage leaks since 2019, figures show

The freedom of information (FOI) data showed that 11 local authorities reported the sewage spills, including 26 leaks in South Lanarkshire, 15 in Renfrewshire, 14 in Stirling and 11 in the Highlands.

Meanwhile, five each were reported in Aberdeen, Argyll and Bute and in West Lothian, three in East Ayrshire, two in the Borders and one each in Clackmannanshire and East Renfrewshire.

Angus Council, the Western Isles, Perth and Kinross and Moray Council did not provide responses.

According to the data, all incidents in South Lanarkshire occurred in primary schools, while in Renfrewshire, one school had the same pipe burst into a kitchen three times in the space of a few weeks, while another school in the region logged concerns of dirty water from sewage seeping into classrooms.

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In the Scottish Borders, the leaks occurred at one primary school with both spillages occurring in the dining area and main kitchen, according to the FOI responses.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have been urging the Scottish Government to overhaul the sewage system after previous FOI data revealed seven health boards reported a total of 196 sewage leaks in hospitals.

And Scottish Water figures showed 14,008 sewage leaks in Scotland in 2022.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Not only did the SNP allow sewage to leak into our waterways more than 14,000 times last year, but it has now emerged that there have been sewage leaks at our schools too.

“This will be worrying news for parents and pupils across Scotland.

“I hope that local authorities will be able to offer assurances that these issues have been addressed and will not happen again.

“The Scottish Government have starved local authorities of the money needed to overhaul aging schools for years.

“They must urgently work to ensure local authorities are properly funded, upgrade Scotland’s Victorian sewage systems and prevent incidents like these.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The maintenance of school infrastructure is the responsibility of individual local authorities.

“Since 2007, the number of schools in good or satisfactory condition has increased from 61% to 90.4% – seeing a 77% reduction in pupils educated in substandard conditions.

“The upcoming £2 billion investment in the school estate through our Learning Estate investment programme (LEIP) is intended to build on that progress.”

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