Steve Barlcay insists ‘no justification’ for water corporations to revenue from unlawful spills | Politics | News | EUROtoday

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I share the anger and frustration of members of the general public that final week’s historic Oxford-Cambridge boat race was affected by studies of air pollution within the River Thames.

This authorities has been clear, a step change is required to guard our waterways from sewage spills and we anticipate water corporations to fulfill us swiftly on this ambition.

In the subsequent few months the most important water infrastructure venture ever undertaken within the UK, the brand new £4.5 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel, will attain completion underpinned by a bundle of presidency monetary assist.

Part of the London Tideway Improvements, this may cut back the amount of sewage spills into the River Thames by 95% and marks eight years of labor by authorities to repair this historic drawback – guaranteeing the air pollution points skilled by rowers final week aren’t repeated.

However, funding is required nationwide. That’s why we’ve got set stringent targets for water corporations to cut back sewage spills, driving £60 billion of funding over the subsequent 25 years, with precedence given first to bathing waters and excessive precedence nature websites to make the largest distinction as rapidly as potential.

We additionally just lately accelerated £180m in water firm funding anticipated to forestall greater than 8000 sewage spills from polluting English waterways. This cash will imply extra cutting-edge expertise, together with synthetic intelligence, and extra specialist employees to detect and cut back spills.

The Government has additionally spearheaded important monitoring motion from the water sector lately – together with becoming 100% of storm overflows with screens, assembly the goal we imposed on water corporations to take action by the tip of 2023.

This information has lifted the lid on unlawful discharges and allowed the Environment Agency to take enforcement motion, and we’re additionally quadrupling inspections on water firm property by the tip of the monetary 12 months.

There is just no justification for anybody to revenue from unlawful behaviour and it’s time that water firm bosses took duty for rooting it out.

Earlier this 12 months I introduced that Ofwat would go additional to ban bonus funds to water firm executives when legal breaches have occurred, topic to a session.

The Environment Agency are additionally conducting the most important legal investigation into unpermitted water firm sewage discharges ever at over 2,200 therapy works – and since 2015 they’ve concluded 60 prosecutions, securing document fines of over £150 million towards water corporations.

For centuries, the Thames has been a treasured environmental and financial landmark. Projects just like the Thames Tideway present us what is feasible, and we are going to proceed to go additional and quicker to implement the measures and infrastructure wanted to cleanup our waterways.