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Progress made but too many water companies still falling short - Environment Agency

Latest annual report by the Environment Agency shows that despite improvements, certain water companies are still failing in their duty to the environment

The Environment Agency has today (13 July) released its annual report on the environmental performance of England’s nine water and sewerage companies.

Whilst there were improvements in 2020, no single company achieved all the expectations for the period 2015 to 2020. These included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012 and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

The sector coped well with Covid-19 pressures in 2020 and recently committed over £850m to help contribute to a green recovery from the pandemic. However, a number of companies are still failing to live up to their responsibilities to regulators, their customers and the environment.

Since 2011 the EA has used the Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA), which rates each company in England from 1 star to 4 star, for performance on environmental commitments such as pollution incidents and treatment work compliance. Where these commitments are not achieved, companies will face underperformance penalties, with Ofwat having new powers to levy fines from 2020.

The report shows:

Serious pollution incidents declined for the second year in a row to the lowest number ever – but while there were 285 fewer total pollution incidents than in 2019, it was still the second highest number of total incidents since 2015.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Water companies have environmental responsibilities and they must realise them. They have a legal duty to avoid pollution to our rivers and other waterways.”


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Posted On: 13/07/2021

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