Robin Walker MP has welcomed the largest infrastructure programme in water company history to tackle sewage pollution. The Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan, published today, will revolutionise how water companies tackle the number of discharges of untreated sewage, which the Government and public have made clear are completely unacceptable.
The Victorians introduced storm overflows as a safety valve for combined sewage systems. Now, under pressure from climate change and population growth, water companies use them far too often, threatening the environment and sea users.
Worcester MP Robin Walker commented:
“I welcome this plan which will mean that water companies will face strict targets and must completely eliminate the harm any sewage discharge causes to the environment. The current use of sewage overflows is completely unacceptable, and I will continue to push our water company to tackle them as soon as possible.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
“This is the first government to take action to end the environmental damage caused by sewage spills. We will require water companies to protect everyone who uses our water for recreation, and ensure storm overflows pose no threat to the environment.
“Water companies will need to invest to stop unacceptable sewage spills so our rivers and coast lines can have greater protection than ever before.”
The Government has been clear that companies cannot profit from environmental damage, and Robin voted for measures in the Environment Act to give more powers to Ofwat, the water company regulator, to enforce that. Ofwat is now consulting on measures that would ensure that water companies are transparent about how executive pay and dividends align to the delivery of services to customers, including environmental performance.
“Water companies need to step up and deliver the services that the residents of Worcester rightly expect. I support Ofwat’s proposals to hold water companies to account and link dividend payments to their environmental performance.”