A DAMNING Environment Agency report on the water companies has found the industry is ‘not doing enough to reduce serious pollution incidents’.

Water quality fears were proved correct as the number of the most serious pollution incidents rose to 11 in 2017. There were a staggering 1,827 pollutions in total.

In 2015, there were just four category one incidents.

By far the worst water company was South West Water who were to blame for 109 category 1-3 pollutions With Yorkshire Water next on 43.

This comes in the face of record fines for the sector – in total more than £21million were issued as a result of 16 successful prosecutions by the EA in 2017.

And the EA have set a more ambitious programme of environmental improvements which water companies will have to make between 2020 and 2025 – totalling £5 billion of investment.

Toby Willison, executive director of operations for the EA, said: “The leading companies in this report show that reducing their environmental impact can be done, so we look to companies to share good practice and improve quickly.

“But one serious pollution incident is one too many. We will always work closely with companies who want to do the right thing but we will take action against those who don’t.”

Anglers push for better water quality

The Angling Trust has called on the industry and its regulators to commit to achieving much higher standards over the next five years to restore healthy rivers and coastal waters.

That’s in the context of plans to build a million new homes and climate change which can make sewage spills more likely as a result of heavy rainstorms.

Mark Lloyd, Trust and Fish Legal chief executive said: “Our rivers and lakes are under serious threat and anglers are witnessing the disappearance of fish and other wildlife.

“The government has pledged to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation, but it has no hope of achieving this worthy ambition if it doesn’t improve water quality.

“I urge all angling clubs and fishery owners to join the Angling Trust & Fish Legal so that we can represent their interests and take civil legal action against offenders.”

And top barbel angler and environmentalist Ray Walton said: “Water companies are favoured by the EA over the environment, fish and wildlife protection.

“If water and sewage companies can get away with it, they will. It’s cheaper to dump raw sewage than treat it, so more money saved for the fat cats at the top.

“The public pay for raw sewage to be treated and keep rivers safe, so perhaps they deserve a rebate every time they dump raw sewage?”

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