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Coverage of Government action on bonuses for water company bosses

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There has been widespread media coverage across multiple outlets – including the Times, BBC News and the Telegraph – following today’s announcement (Monday 12 February) that water bosses will be banned from receiving bonuses if a company has committed serious criminal breaches.

Last year 10 water bosses received bonuses, totalling £2.5 million. The ban would apply to all executive board members and Chief Executives and would be expected to come into effect later this year. The ban is subject to an Ofwat consultation, which will be launched shortly and is expected to run for six weeks.

Ofwat’s consultation will define the criteria for a ban, which could include successful prosecution for a Category 1 or 2 pollution incident or where a company has been found guilty of serious management failings. Categories 1 and 2 include the most serious pollution incidents, such as causing significant pollution at a bathing water site or conservation area.

If taken forward, Ofwat would implement the measures by changing the conditions of water company licences. For water companies in England, this would be done using the powers given to the regulator through the Environment Act 2021.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said:

“No-one should profit from illegal behaviour and it’s time that water company bosses took responsibility for that.

“Tougher action is needed to address poor performance by water companies, which is why I am pleased Ofwat is going further today on bonus payments. In cases where companies have committed criminal breaches there is no justification whatsoever for paying out bonuses. It needs to stop now.

“I will shortly be setting out more detail on further steps to clean up our waters, including reducing the reliance on water company self-monitoring in order to hold them to account and drive the improvements we all need to see.”

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  1. Comment by alan wightman posted on

    It must be General Election year! Years & years of DEFRA negligence won´t be changed by your "if" conditional announcements. Take away their bonuses & they will simply do an MP policy of increasing their own salaries.

  2. Comment by John W. BAXTER posted on

    Well well well……I think individual groups of water consumers should be able to get together , drill water wells and manage their own water consumption , halving the load on the water companies who would then only be left having to treat the waste water for the production of biogas and all the government incentives that go with that.
    I still find it incredible that leaders like Ms. Garfield find the time to run water retailing companies alongside water and waste water treatment companies which make headlines day in and day out as companies failing to meet their environmental responsibilities to their customers who paid to have their waste water treated as Ofwat is aware.
    And let us not use farmers as whipping boys as polluters for water companies who have failed miserably to enhance waste water treatment capacity and standards citing Victorian infrastructure as the culprit for failures.
    It is time that Ofwat made itself easily accessible to the paymasters,I.e. water consumers, who have been expected to keep shtum and put up with the poor standards approved by our regulators,who have allowed such abuse by this band of brothers and sisters who have done a pretty good job of manipulating investment to the benefit of shareholders at the expense of customers who have witnessed enough of this ducking and diving.
    Satellite monitoring,increased waste water treatment capacity, and increased fresh water storage capacity may lead to us moving to non Victorian modern water infrastructure we should all expect in delivering us affordable value for money water and clean waterways…….with or without bonuses.

  3. Comment by Valda Williams posted on

    Delighted to see this, though REALLY don't understand why it's taken so long, OR why it invariably seems that only after campaigning/awareness raising by NGO's and pressure groups, are issues such as this whole despicable cover up FINALLY prioritised. In my humble opinion, SAS (Surfers Against Sewage) and others deserve honorary peerages SO much more than Truss's bunch of cronies and Feargal Sharkey should receive a Knighthood!

  4. Comment by Christina Aitken posted on

    Good, at last someone is doing the right thing. Water, Heating, NHS, Post Office all belong to the general public and nobody should earn bonuses from them.