“Right now in our country, there is so much sewage going into our rivers and our lakes, and onto our beaches, it is almost mind-bendingly, unbelievably comprehensible."

Those are the words of Feargal Sharkey, the former vocalist of The Undertones, who has now turned into the 'biggest voice in the nation' on the sewage scandal.

Mr Sharkey joined founder of the Save Windermere campaign group Matt Staniek to attend the 23rd week of his protest outside the United Utilities Information Centre on Crescent Road in the town. 

The Mail: Mr Sharkey talking to protestors Mr Sharkey talking to protestors (Image: Newsquest)

Dozens of people were at the protest with the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron also in attendance. 

Mr Staniek's group aims to stop all sewage pollution into England's largest lake.

Recent Event Duration Monitoring data, which is published annually by the government, revealed that 366 days-worth of sewage was dumped into the lake last year.

Water companies are allowed to discharge sewage in times of exceptional rainfall to prevent flooding in the system. United Utilities (UU), which is in charge of water assets in the north west of England, argues that the high figures were due to the region having one of the wettest periods in recent record. 

The Mail: Mr Sharkey with the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim FarronMr Sharkey with the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron (Image: MP Tim Farron)

To this, Mr Sharkey said: "If it's in the sewer, it's your job to deal with it - it doesn't matter where it is, doesn't matter how it got there, doesn't matter how much it rained last Monday or last Wednesday, it's in the sewer - that's your job."

READ MORE: 366 days-worth of untreated sewage dumped in Windermere

He also asked: "We've given them money to build and maintain a properly functional sewage system that is not filling our rivers and our lakes full of sewage - the question we should be asking is what in God's name happened to our money? Where has it gone and when can we all get a refund?"

The Mail: Protestor Sue Houseman outside of the Information Centre on Crescent RoadProtestor Sue Houseman outside of the Information Centre on Crescent Road (Image: Newsquest)

The water company said its planned investment to reduce storm overflow operation was to meet new requirements following the passing of the Environment Act. They said this set a new standard that customers have never previously paid for. 

A spokesperson from the water company said it had invested £45 million into Windermere since 2015, which had halved the levels of phosphorus entering the lake from its systems. It is also putting £41million to halve storm overflow operation at four sites in Windermere by 2030. 

Mr Sharkey said he would not take his children or his dogs near the lake if he knew that it could turn green again due to algae, which can be caused by nutrients such as phosphorus in the water. 

The Mail: Matt Staniek, founder of Save Windermere, at the protestMatt Staniek, founder of Save Windermere, at the protest (Image: Newsquest)

The spokesperson continued: "It is important to understand the complexity of the situation at Windermere. There are a total of 107 discharge permits into the lake and only 18 belong to UU. The other 89 discharge permits belong to hotels, campsites and businesses and many treat sewage to a lower standard then UU. On top of that, there are around 1,800 private septic tanks around the lake and many of these discharge sewage into the lake with little or no treatment.

“This is why UU is working with environment groups, local stakeholders, farmers and the community to ensure we build a comprehensive response from everyone involved to tackle the issues at Windermere.”

Mr Staniek said it was 'surreal' to have Mr Sharkey at his protest. Last year comedians Lee Mack, Steve Coogan and Paul Whitehouse banded together to champion Mr Staniek's campaign and the Michelin-star chefs from the Lakes fine dining industry put on a week of culinary experiences to fundraise for Save Windermere. 

Next week, Mr Staniek will spend 24 hours outside the Information Centre to mark 24 weeks of protesting.