SOUTH WEST WATER is the only one of nine utility firms to be criticised by the Environment Agency.
In an Environment Agency report on 2016 in England, just the one bloated privatised firm got a telling off. That was despite the number of pollutions going up by 160 to 1,902 and a rise in the most serious category one disasters from four to nine.
River campaigner and former barbel record holder Ray Walton said: “I’ve read the full report and the EA seem to write off nearly 2,000 pollutions by the nine firms.
“There also still far too much abstraction of our rivers which damages fish stocks and this report glosses over this.”
South West Water committed 115 pollutions, nearly triple the amount of Yorkshire Water who were next on 46.
One bit of good news was water firms were being hit far harder in the wallet as courts brought in new European Union legislation on tougher fines. 2016 saw £6,560,00 dished out for ten prosecutions compared with £2,494,500 for nine court appearances in 2015.
Only recently Thames Water got a record £20.3 million for serious sewage pollution of the River Thames and tributaries around Abingdon.
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Over the last 20 years, we have made big steps to improve the quality of our water. This is thanks to the hard work of the EA, DEFRA, water companies, councils, local communities, farmers and environmental organisations.
“We will highlight best practice and innovation but also take action to address any poor practice.
“We expect South West Water to make significant improvements to their environmental performance.”
Dr Toby Willison, executive director for the Environment Agency, added: “While we welcome the good progress being made we will continue to address any failings and will take enforcement action in the most serious cases,” he added.