Five major water companies plan to invest an extra £793m to boost water quality and flood management, writes my colleague Rachel Millard.
Severn Trent Water, South Staffs Water, South West Water, Thames Water, and United Utilities are also pulling forward about £1.9bn of investment in environmental schemes, to before 2025.
Ofwat, the water regulator, has allowed the extra investment on the basis that companies are mostly not recouping the costs from customers until after 2025.
Under the plans, Severn Trent Water will invest £169m to improve the water in 500km of rivers, while Severn Trent Water, South West Water and United Utilities will invest £158m to better cope with storm overflows and start creating two new bathing rivers.
Emma Clancy, chief executive of the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), said: “This investment will give fresh impetus to these water companies’ efforts to tackle many of the environmental issues customers see as a priority – from reducing pollution in our precious rivers and coastal waters to protecting our water resources.”
“It’s up to each of these companies to now deliver on their commitments and prove to customers that are funding this investment that they are getting value for money.”
It comes in the same week as a damning report from the Environment Agency which found that none of the nine English water and sewerage companies had achieved all the environmental expectations set out for them for 2015 to 2020, Press Association reported.
Southern Water and South West Water were the worst for environmental performance. The Environment Agency warned their performance in looking after the environment has been “consistently unacceptable”.