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Water Company Fines: Environmental Improvements

Volume 723: debated on Friday 2 December 2022

On Wednesday 30 November, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced that future funding from fines handed out to water companies that pollute our rivers and seas will be invested in schemes that benefit our natural environment.

At present, money from fines imposed by Ofwat and those arising from Environment Agency prosecutions is returned to the Treasury. Under the new plans, ringfenced funds will be invested directly into environmental and water quality improvement projects.

Further details on the plans will follow next year.

Since 2015, the Environment Agency has concluded 56 prosecutions against water and sewerage companies, securing fines of over £141 million. DEFRA is bringing forward proposals to raise the civil penalty for water companies that pollute the environment.

We are going further and faster than any other Government to protect and enhance the health of our rivers and seas. Our new Environment Act puts in place more protections against water pollution than ever before.

The Government have also launched an ambitious plan to tackle sewage discharges from storm overflows. The storm overflows discharge reduction plan will require water companies to deliver the largest infrastructure programme in water company history, a £56 billion capital investment by 2050.