Report Calls For Water Companies To Do More For The Environment

A new Environment Agency (EA) report has called on the UK’s water companies to do more to help protect the environment, with the industry not doing enough to comply with permits and reduce serious pollution incidents.


The EA’s Water and Sewerage Companies’ Environmental Performance Report rates how well firms manage their impact on the environment across a range of measures including pollution, complying with permits and managing sewage.


For the third consecutive year, Wessex Water and United Utilities came top of the list, followed by Severn Trent Water. All three received the top four star rating. However, the likes of Northumbrian Water and South West Water have to improve their performance because they were rated as the lowest this time around, the latter the worst for pollution incidents and the former worst on permit compliance.


The report did note that although a gradual improving trend has been seen in environmental performance over the last few years or so, more must now be done. The sector was hit with record fines last year, totalling over £21 million, driven in large part by changes in sentencing guidelines.


The EA has now set out a more ambitious programme for environmental improvements, which suppliers will have to make between 2020 and 2025 to the tune of £5 billion of investment.


In addition, the report reminds companies about the pressures on water quality and supply. In the face of climate change pressures and a burgeoning population, as well as heightened legal and public expectation, water suppliers will now need to rise to the challenge and make prompt improvements in the future.


Commenting, executive director of operations for the EA Toby Willison 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.


“Over the last 30 years there has been a significant improvement in water quality and this has happened not only thanks to the industry’s massive investment but also the Environment Agency’s strong regulatory role.”


It’s not just the water suppliers that can do their bit to protect the environment and safeguard our water supplies for the future, however. Businesses too can do an awful lot in this regard, such as focusing on water recycling as a strategy.


This can help to create or enhance wetland, reduce the need for chemical fertiliser use in irrigation, reduce dependence on imported water and replenish groundwater source, replace existing drinking water supplies for non-potable uses and help to save energy because less water will need to be pumped from elsewhere.


If you’d like to find out about this or any other steps you and your company could take to be greener with your water usage, get in touch with us at H2O Building Services today.