Torbay’s MP Kevin Foster has welcomed the largest infrastructure programme in water company history to tackle sewage pollution.
The Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan, published today (Friday 26th August 2022), will revolutionise how water companies tackle the number of discharges of untreated sewage, which the Government and public have made clear are unacceptable.
The Victorians introduced storm overflows as a safety valve for combined sewage systems to prevent sudden downpours seeing drainage water back up into homes and streets. Whilst work has taken place to reduce their use in our bay over the last 7 years, including the construction of large retention tanks near Torre Abbey Sands, more action is needed to reduce their use further. This issue has got more attention in recent years following a massive expansion in monitoring frequency and duration of discharges, from approximately 5% in 2016, to nearly 90% in 2021, which has been used to hold companies to account.
The Government has been clear companies cannot profit from environmental damage, and Kevin voted for measures in the Environment Act to give more powers to Ofwat, the water company regulator, to enforce this. Ofwat is now consulting on measures that would ensure water companies are transparent about how executive pay and dividends align to the delivery of services to customers, including environmental performance.
Kevin Foster MP commented:
“I welcome this plan which means water companies will face strict targets and must completely eliminate the harm any sewage discharge causes to the environment. The moves to link dividend payments paid by water companies to their environmental performance will also ensure they can only pay when they perform what is expected of them.”