The “most persistent polluters of England’s beaches are the water companies”, claims The Observer

The Observer reports, 4th August 2013: “The most persistent and frequent polluters of England’s rivers and beaches are the nation’s 10 biggest water companies, an Observer investigation has revealed.

“The companies, which are responsible for treating waste water and delivering clean supplies, have been punished for more than 1,000 incidents in the past nine years, but fined a total of only £3.5m.

“The revelations have raised concern that the financial penalties are far too low to change the behaviour of an industry that generates billions of pounds in profits and shareholder dividends. The charge is backed by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, which is proposing major hikes in penalties.

Outlet Pipe on beach at Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex

Outlet Pipe on beach at Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex
Photograph: Neil Setchfield/Alamy

“Pollution incidents, which have included sewage illegally pouring into a harbour for more than a year, and managers destroying records, show no sign of declining, according to data obtained from the Environment Agency (EA) under freedom of information rules. Only a third of the 1,000 incidents led to a fine (of an average of just £10,800); the rest resulted in cautions.

“In November 2012 the Observer revealed that three of Britain’s biggest water companies paid little or no tax on their profits in 2012 while generously rewarding their executives and investors. The water industry was paid £10.5bn by customers in 2010-11, according to the latest Ofwat figures available, while making pre-tax profits of £1.7bn and paying dividends of £2.2bn, a 42% year-on-year rise. In 2013-14, water bills are rising by 3.5%, above both inflation and average pay rises.

“One in three of the pollution incidents involved sewage. Karen Gibbs of the Consumer Council for Water said: “Sewer flooding is particularly distressing for customers, and something we have pressed the companies to address as a priority.”

Source: The Observer, 4th August 2013. For the full text of this article, see www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/03/water-companies-polluting-rivers-beaches

Please do share this

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • email hidden; JavaScript is required
  • RSS