Skip to main content

Water UK’s national apology from sewage and water companies

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: water

River Plym in Devon

There has been widespread coverage in The Times, BBC News Online, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 4 Today programme, ITV, The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, i paper, PA Media and The Sun, following a national apology from Water UK yesterday (18 May) on sewage pollution.

Water UK has apologised for not acting quickly enough on sewage spills and vowed to ‘put things right’, starting with a £10 billion investment.

In response to Water UK’s apology, Water Minister Rebecca Pow said:

This apology by the water industry is not before time and I welcome it.

The government has put the strictest targets ever on water companies to reduce sewage pollution and demanded that water companies deliver their largest ever infrastructure investment - £56 billion. I am pleased that they are now taking action to deliver on this - but there is still a great deal more to do.

We have asked companies for action plans on every storm overflow to ensure deliverability and expect all overflows to be monitored by the end of this year.

Alan Lovell, Chair of the Environment Agency, said:

I welcome the commitments today by Water UK and the wider industry as they work to rebuild public trust, particularly on sewage discharges.

It is right that the industry is honest, accountable and shows the tangible steps it is taking to drive the improvements that we all want to see.

Now we want to see action and a clear plan for delivery. The Environment Agency will be working closely with them to ensure this happens.

In April, the government published its Plan for Water, which sets out increased investment, tougher enforcement and tighter regulation to tackle every source of river pollution – including bringing forward £1.6 billion investment, with £1.1bn specifically on storm overflows.

Follow Defra on Twitter, and sign up for email alerts here.

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Rory Ledwith posted on

    Decades too late, should be sued for the damage they have caused and government as usual do nothing but waffle

  2. Comment by Christina Aitken posted on

    I meant to say should NOT expect or ask us

  3. Comment by Christina Aitken posted on

    I strongly feel these water companies should pay from the massive profits they have been making over the years to their shareholder and CEOs, they should expect or ask us the general public for more money as we have paid yearly for a service they have not been providing as they should have done.

    My own water company SES has still not inspected the cattery that I had built in 2017 and although this situation has been emailed to my MP Chris Philp who has supported me and written to them, nothing of any use has happened from the water company, which just shows how poorly they are run, but good at taking the general public money!