There is coverage in the Times regarding the Environment Agency’s inspections of bathing water pollution incidents.
They claim that the EA has privately issued guidance that weakens its inspection regime when people report pollution incidents. This is incorrect – the inspection regime has not changed and there will not be fewer inspections as a result of it.
The EA remains responsible for classifying pollution incidents, not water companies. The guidance does not change the EA’s approach to classification or inspection.
It instead emphasises taking a precautionary approach to pollution incidents, so as to provide bathers with the best information on the risks associated with bathing at affected bathing waters.
The guidance is freely available on request.
An Environment Agency spokesperson said:
“There has been no change to how we classify and assess pollution incident reports.
“We are promoting a precautionary approach which assumes a water quality impact has occurred unless proven otherwise, providing bathers with the best information on any risks associated with using affected bathing waters.
“We continue to work with local communities and water companies to identify what action is needed to ensure cleaner and healthier waters for people to enjoy.”