Hundreds of sewage spills were recorded in Renfrewshire last year, new figures reveal.

Latest statistics released by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency reveal that 244 incidents took place in the area during 2022.

The highest number of sewage spills was recorded at Erskine Waste Water Treatment Works, in Greenock Road, with 116 discharges lasting almost 110 days in total.

There were also 65 incidents recorded at the wastewater treatment plant in Laighpark, Paisley, and 63 incidents at the combined sewer overflow in Burnbrae Road, Linwood, last year.

Grant Toghill, spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats in Renfrewshire, described the latest statistics for the local area as "absolutely disgusting."

He told The Gazette: "Every SNP representative should hang their heads in shame. People in Renfrewshire deserve better. 

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"Our rivers should be protected and places like Erskine beach should not be at risk of getting sewage from downstream."

Mr Toghill said that almost every sewage overflow is monitored in England compared to only a small fraction in Scotland.

He added: "That means the true situation is probably far worse. The new Environment Secretary needs to record and publish all sewage discharges so we get a true picture.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats are campaigning for an acceleration of measures to upgrade Scotland's Victorian sewage systems and prevent almost 19,000 Olympic pools worth of sewage from flowing into our rivers and onto our beaches."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The Scottish Government takes sewage pollution incidents very seriously and works closely with SEPA and Scottish Water to reduce any impact on the water environment.

"Comprehensive monitoring of waterbodies is already undertaken by SEPA to assess water quality, physical condition and ecology which are combined to produce an overall classification of the water environment. Therefore, increasing the monitoring of sewage outflow pipes would not change the classification of the water environment by SEPA.

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"66% of Scotland’s water environment meets 'good' ecological status, whereas Environment Agency figures for England are only 16%. 87% of Scotland’s entire water environment is assessed by SEPA as having a 'high' or 'good' classification for water quality, up from 82% six years ago. Meanwhile, 99% of coastal waterbodies are currently assessed as being in good or better overall condition.

"This upgrade in water quality reflects improvements made through Scottish Water’s £2.7bn investment on wastewater between 2010-21, and work by a range of stakeholders to improve rural land management practices to reduce diffuse pollution.

"However, we are not complacent. Scottish Water’s Improving Urban Waters Routemap, which supports the national River Basin Management objectives (92% good water quality by 2027), commits further investment of up to £500m.

"That investment will improve water quality; increase monitoring coverage at overflow locations which discharge into the highest priority waters; significantly reduce Sewage Related Debris (SRD) such as wet wipes, sanitary products and other items; and reduce sewer network spills.

"Scottish Water remains on track to deliver on its commitment set out in the Routemap to install at least 1000 new monitors on the network by the end of 2024, with an aim to increase this to 2500 in the same period."