AS A water and wastewater professional l know exactly what membership of the EU has done to clean up our rivers and seas and protect our aquatic environment for wildlife, biodiversity, health and amenity.

I also know what the rivers and seas were like before EU Legislation. In the 1970s and 198s we were known at "The Dirty Man of Europe". Eighty per cent of our sewage and industrial waste went into the sea and rivers untreated. Our rivers were dead. People regularly got hepatitis, ear infections and gastro enteritis from swimming and surfing.

Now the rivers are clean. Brown trout, rainbow trout, sea trout and salmon have returned to the Itchen, Test and Avon in great numbers. Our local rivers are all class 1A. Our beaches are all clean and safe for bathing. Do we really want to return to those days of pollution and sickness because of a nebulous notion of sovereignty and national pride?

Or because of an aimless middle finger to the establishment, do we want to return to days where there was little or no protection for the environment, no funding for green energy, no sustainable innovation, no animal welfare or food safety legislation.

That is what we risk in the next few days with Brexit.

John Valles BSc (Hons) MSc