Environment Act Now Enshrined In Law

Why is water efficiency important - H2O Building Services


The Environment Act has finally been passed into UK law after months of delays, with the bill first drafted up back in July 2018, designed to clean up the nation’s air, reduce waste, make better use of resources, restore natural habitats and increase biodiversity.


The plan is to halt species decline by 2030, tackle overseas deforestation and require new developments to either improve or create habitats for nature.


The Act has also been designed to help the country transition to a circular economy, encouraging businesses to create sustainable packaging, incentivise people to recycle more, make household recycling easier and stop the export of pollution plastic waste to developing countries.


In addition, the Environment Act will crack down on water companies discharging sewage into the UK’s coastlines, waterways and rivers. Suppliers will now have to secure a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows.

And the government itself will also have to publish plans to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows by September next year, reporting to Parliament on the progress towards implementation of the plan.


Other strategies relating to water include effective collaboration between water companies through statutory water management plans, minimising the damage of water abstraction, modernising the process for modifying water and sewerage company licence conditions and making drainage and sewerage management planning a statutory duty.


Work on implementing policies has already begun, with legally binding environmental targets developed and consultations launched on deposit return schemes for drinks containers, consistent recycling collections and extended producer responsibility for packaging.


Natural England chair Tony Juniper said: “It is imperative that we step up action to boost nature recovery if we are to tackle the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change.


“This landmark Act will give us more of the tools and the momentum we need to really put nature on the road to recovery during this decade, enabling us to have more, better, bigger and connected areas of natural habitats, bringing a range of practical benefits and permitting more people to enjoy the wonders of the natural world, while improving wider environmental quality at the same time.”


Sewage overflows and discharges have been a hot topic over the last two years, with record fines handed out to water companies such as Southern Water, which was given a record-breaking £90 million fine earlier in 2021 for discharging unacceptable levels of sewage into waterways.


Similarly, Thames Water was handed down fines of £4 million and £2.3 million for separate incidents. The environment bill was later strengthened because of cases such as these and water companies will now have to monitor water quality up and downstream of storm overflows, as well as sewage disposal works.


Do you want to find out why water efficiency is important? Get in touch with us here at H2o Building Services to see how we can help improve your water footprint today.