People will soon be able to get live updates showing if sewage has been released into Norfolk's rivers and coastal waters.

Anglian Water's coastal catchment manager Adam Worley has said this will come into force next year, providing up-to-date information within the hour of storm overflows being used.

Councillors have welcomed the move and hope it will make it clearer as to where and when it is safe to swim. 

Eastern Daily Press: The move could help people know when it is not safe to swimThe move could help people know when it is not safe to swim (Image: ianwool)Water companies are allowed to release sewage through storm overflows when the system is overwhelmed during heavy rain in order to help prevent flooding.

But currently, Anglian Water only releases the data annually and people must instead rely on pollution risk forecasts based on weather predictions.

The change in practice was revealed at a West Norfolk Council meeting, in which Anglian Water and Environment Agency representatives were discussing the action taken to investigate poor water quality of the Heacham and Hunstanton coastline.

READ MORE: What is causing pollution at Norfolk's most noxious beach?

Eastern Daily Press: The move will come into force early next yearThe move will come into force early next year (Image: Newsquest)

West Norfolk councillor Rob Colwell, who has been campaigning for more action on the issue, said it is a step in the right direction.

"I am pleased that families will be able to have a bit more of an idea whether it will be a good day for a swim rather than being left in the dark.

"The next step would be to provide the volume of the discharges as well. But ultimately, there should be no sewage going into our rivers and coastal waters."

Eastern Daily Press: West Norfolk councillor Rob ColwellWest Norfolk councillor Rob Colwell (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: Norfolk villagers 'unable to use loo for days on end'

The release of sewage through storm overflows has been under the spotlight in recent years, prompting fears water companies are harming rivers and coasts due to the practice.

Anglian Water has said it is investing £800m in the region between 2020 and 2025, with £200m directly into addressing storm overflows.

According to the latest figures, the use of storm overflows increased in 2023 at two pumping stations in Hunstanton compared to last year.

There were 21 releases this year, totalling just under 20 hours, compared with only 18 releases in 2022 over four hours.