Environment Secretary: Water firms to face fines up to £250m for sewage dumping

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The new environment secretary has vowed that ater companies dumping sewage into rivers and seas will face fines of up to £250 million, as part of a plan to clean up Britain’s waters.

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Ranil Jayawardene warned water company heads that if they don’t do more to stop waste flowing into open water, he will increase civil fines by up to 1,000 times.

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He told the Conservative Party convention in Birmingham on Monday: “On my first day in office I met with the owners of the water company and gave them my report card. I’ll be humble: could have done better.

“I asked him to write to me with his plans to accelerate investment in infrastructure. They did and now they have to deliver.

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If they don’t deliver, I can confirm to you today that we will move forward with a plan to increase the Environment Agency’s maximum civil fine from just £250,000 to £250 million for each individual violation of the rules.

“Privatization has already invested £170 billion in our water infrastructure, and the private sector will invest another £56 billion.

“And, if they don’t deliver, I can confirm to you today that we will go ahead with a plan to increase the Environment Agency’s maximum civil fine from just £250,000 to £250 million for each individual breach of the rules.” “

The plan includes launching a formal consultation on lifting the Environment Agency’s current £250,000 limit for fines for water firms that violate environmental regulations.

In recent years there has been growing public outcry over the amount of raw or partially treated sewage dumped into Britain’s rivers and coastal waters.

Water firms are being criticized for not returning money to Britain’s old water infrastructure, with increasing pressure on ministers to intervene.

Led by Boris Johnson, the Conservative government outlined a plan to crack down on the spill by requiring utility companies to invest £56 billion over 25 years to deal with the effects of the storm’s overflow.

At Labor’s conference last week, shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon said water owners would face prison sentences for the worst pollution incidents under the Labor government.

He said his party would introduce a legally binding target to eliminate 90% of sewage discharge by 2030 and impose strong sanctions and fines for owners and companies that fail to do so.

Labor also attacked Prime Minister Liz Truss’s record when she was environment secretary, blaming her for a £24 million cut to protect the environment, including oversight of water companies to stop sewage dumping.

Credit: www.standard.co.uk /

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