ANGLERS are furious after figures revealed that the Environment Agency hasn’t yet prosecuted a single water firm for river pollutions in 2018.
Official figures show that there were 1,863 unlawful pollution incidents by water companies in rivers in England in those 12 months, but not one was taken to court.
Of those 1,863 incidents, two cases in 2018 led to voluntary enforcement undertakings, made by United Utilities and Wessex Water, of cash to wildlife groups.
The EA is still investigating 36 cases, so there’s a slight chance that some might end up in court or give donations to charity.
‘Slapped wrists’ for pollutions
Former barbel British record holder and environmental campaigner Ray Walton blasted: “It seems that thousands are being let off over and over again with a slap on the wrist, if they get that or anything, including serial polluters.
“What EA ‘voluntary enforcement undertakings’ actually do is give the green light that it is okay for privatised water and sewage companies and others to continue legally polluting our rivers, kill fish and wildlife and destroy protected riverine habitat, without fear of prosecution by the EA or anyone.
“As long as polluters know that, if they are caught they will have to pay some money to repair the damage caused, which will be much less than a prosecution court fine.
“The risk of getting caught polluting a river by the EA is minimal in this day and age.
“Basically, the goalposts have been moved outwards yet again by the EA and Government to benefit the water and sewage companies, profiteering polluters that also rip off the public who pay for the raw sewage to be treated via their water and sewage bills,” fumed Ray.
Fisheries chief says ‘nothing was done’
And Mid Kent Fisheries boss Chris Logsdon said: “It has been like this for years. The EA are a total waste of space, underfunded and understaffed.
“At Chilham on some occasions you could smell what perfume they were making by the smell of the river water, and it was some ten miles from the factory.
“Numerous times I complained, and nothing was done.
“I eventually took the law into my own hands and found the sewage works couldn’t cope with the discharge, and that there were broken pipes in the system.
“They then had to put it right because of the threat of going public, but no prosecutions took place,” added Chris.
EA explains ‘concluding action’
An EA spokesperson said: “For 1,423 cases registered with ‘no prosecution action taken or recorded’, the EA would have taken a concluding action, such as issuing warning letters or providing expert advice in order to stop these events occurring again.
“While water quality has improved dramatically over the past decade, we are committed to improving it further and holding those responsible to account.
“We will not hesitate to take action against those who cause pollution in our waterways – including prosecution in the most serious cases.”
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