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Bulya

Sewage sleuths and English Welsh rivers

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Senior civil servants not doing what they are paid to do, one wonders?

Cheers, Bobj.

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On 05/08/2022 at 15:52, simmo said:

Obsessed much....

Headline news.  

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9 hours ago, Bobj said:

Senior civil servants not doing what they are paid to do, one wonders?

Cheers, Bobj.

And nobody their cares.  

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On 05/08/2022 at 13:52, simmo said:

Obsessed much....

Bit odd isn’t it……..

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On 05/08/2022 at 15:52, simmo said:

Obsessed much....

I don't understand this comment.  It's a serious article about a serious environmental scandal.  Sad that anyone could think it's something to laugh about.

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, is due out August 2022

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On 05/08/2022 at 15:52, simmo said:

Obsessed much....

One newspaper article about something that is happening in the UK when in the past you used to fill the forum with any negative thing you could rake up about Australia   ........  though it has to be said your behaviour in that regard has improved drastically over the past couple of years.  👍   😉

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On 06/08/2022 at 08:07, Bobj said:

Senior civil servants not doing what they are paid to do, one wonders?

Cheers, Bobj.

Not in this case.  Hardly any of the rivers in the country are up to scratch but there is little anyone can do under the current laws, they are powderpuff compared to the fines you can get in Australia, and nowhere near the scale of American damages for environmental destruction.

The privatisation of water was sold on the increased environmental protection and the promise that investment would be put in to upgrade a 100 yr old system...cleaner rivers, cleaner beaches, better water processing, encourage people to holiday at home where they would be able to swim in an ocean that they were not pumping raw sewage into.  Profits have been massive and extracted from the country, but they are still hopeless....they actually have a hosepipe ban in the south of England right now because they have not protected water supplies nor built enough reservoirs.  It's not as if they have Australian-scale problems, they have ample water, but they let it drain away leaving them defenceless after a few weeks of no rain....they've had since 1989.

This is from the Government report published about 6 weeks ago, it's probably the strongest language i've ever read in one of these reports:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/water-and-sewerage-companies-in-england-environmental-performance-report-2021/water-and-sewerage-companies-in-england-environmental-performance-report-2021

Foreward

In 2021, the environmental performance of England’s 9 water and sewerage companies was the worst we have seen for years. Measured against our four-star rating, most of them went the wrong way: down. Four companies (Anglian, Thames, Wessex, Yorkshire Water) were rated only 2 stars, which means they require significant improvement. Two (Southern and South West Water) fell to 1 star, the bottom of our star ratings, meaning their performance was terrible across the board.

The sector’s performance on pollution was shocking, much worse than previous years. Serious pollution incidents increased to 62, the highest total since 2013. There were 8 of the most serious (category 1) incidents, compared with 3 in 2020 and most companies, 7 of the 9, were responsible for an increase in serious incidents compared to 2020.

Company directors let this occur and it is simply unacceptable. Over the years the public have seen water company executives and investors rewarded handsomely while the environment pays the price. The water companies are behaving like this for a simple reason: because they can. We intend to make it too painful for them to continue as they are.

But this is not enough. The water companies will only stop behaving like this if they are forced to. The amount a company can be fined for environmental crimes is unlimited, but fines currently handed down by the courts often amount to less than a Chief Executive’s salary. We need courts to impose much higher fines for serious and deliberate pollution incidents. The threat of significant impending financial penalties has an impact. Investors should no longer see England’s water monopolies as a one-way bet.

Repeat offenders can now expect criminal prosecutions for less serious environmental incidents where once the Environment Agency would have used civil powers. We would like to see prison sentences for Chief Executives and Board members whose companies are responsible for the most serious incidents. We would also like to see company directors being struck off so they cannot simply delete illegal environmental damage from their CV and move on to their next role.

Conclusion

We use the EPA to ensure that water companies meet several core requirements and to highlight where they are not. As two thirds of the sector were rated no better than requiring improvement (2 stars) or poor (1 star), this was clearly a challenge for most companies in 2021.

This is the first year we are reporting on the revised EPA (for 2021 to 2025). We have deliberately tightened metric thresholds to set stretching targets that will push companies to meet regulatory requirements and our expectations. During this EPA period the challenge will increase to ensure companies achieve better environmental outcomes. Companies cannot be complacent with static performance and expect the same results. We welcome companies that are innovating to meet current and future challenges however this should not be at the detriment of complying with the law.

Some water companies have more to do than others. Southern Water and South West Water continued to perform well below target for most EPA metrics. Seven water companies had an increase in serious incident numbers compared to 2020 which resulted in the unacceptable sector rise – the highest number of serious incidents since 2013. Across the other EPA metrics companies must significantly increase their efforts to meet all performance targets and sustain performance at expected levels.

Sustaining excellent performance means operating in a way that best protects people and the environment. Any company falling short of this or not motivated to improve is not acceptable and reflects poorly on the rest of the sector.

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