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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Coverage of BBC investigation into potential illegal dry spills by water companies in 2022

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Environment Agency, water

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There has been expected coverage by the BBC on their investigation into England’s water companies discharging sewage when the weather is dry. The investigation suggests 6000 possibly illegal spills occurred during 2022.

The coverage notes that three water companies shared their data on storm overflow use with the BBC upon request. Six companies refused to share their data citing reasons including the fact that there are ongoing legal proceedings. The BBC reports that the Environment Agency ‘stepped in’ and handed the requested data to them. This data directly informed the BBC’s investigation.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said:

We welcome the focus on this critical issue.100% of storm overflows are now monitored which helps us to ensure water companies are operating within their permits.

We’re increasing our water company inspections fourfold this year, with up to 500 additional staff and making better use of data and intelligence to inform our work and hold water companies to account.

We will always pursue and prosecute companies that are deliberately obstructive or misleading, and take action if they are found to have breached the conditions of their permits.

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