Oldham's waterways saw more than 1,600 sewage spillages last year according to data from the Environment Agency.

Political constituency areas Oldham East and Saddleworth and Oldham West and Royton saw around 880 spillages and 740 spillages respectively.

The total of more than 1,600 sewage spillages is up around 30 per cent on the previous year, an increase attributed by the water company United Utilities to an increase in rainfall and 10 named storms throughout the year.

The water company, which saw almost 98,000 sewage spillages on its network in the North West, is monitoring more storm overflows making it difficult to do a comparison.

The constituencies were less affected than elsewhere in Greater Manchester with both towards the bottom of the table.

The Environment Agency's director of water Helen Wakeham said the data from the agency was "sadly not surprising".

Ms Wakeham said: "We are pleased to see record investment from the water sector but we know it will take time for this to be reflected in the data. No other country has the level of monitoring we do with 100 per cent of storm overflows in England now fitted with a monitor.

"We are better placed than before to hold the water sector accountable."

The use of storm overflows is in the design of the sewerage system to protect properties from the back-up of sewage in rainfall.

United Utilities' director of wastewater Mark Garth said there is a programme to transform the design of this sewerage system.

The Oldham Times:

Mr Garth said: "We have had one of the wettest years on record in the North West and it has contributed to an increased number of storm overflow operations compared to the previous year. Whilst the system is designed to activate during rainfall I understand the concern and the need for change and this is why we are proposing a £3 billion programme to tackle storm overflow operations between 2025 and 2030.

"For the first time we are monitoring all storm overflows in the North West giving us the best visibility of their performance we have ever had. 

"This data is crucial as we prioritise our record investment over the coming years to transform how the region's sewerage system operates.

"It is going to take time to re-plumb the North West but we have already started and the figures show we are moving in the right direction. Since 2020, even with the increased coverage of monitors and high rainfall, we have achieved a 15 per cent reduction in storm overflow operations."

All data is collected by the Environment Agency and collated by Top of the Poops.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.