The Environment Agency recently revealed that raw sewage had been discharged into English rivers 825 times a day in 2022.
This includes several hours of sewage discharge into rivers serving Harrow, such as the Yeading Brook, Wealdstone Brook and Kenton Brook.
Labour will give Ofwat the powers to ban the payment of bonuses to water bosses who are found to pump significant levels of raw sewage into our precious rivers, lakes and seas.
Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, Steve Reed MP, has outlined plans to end years of Conservative negligence and put the water industry under “special measures” to end the sewage crisis once and for all.
Expanding the regulatory powers of Ofwat, water bosses who fail to meet high environmental standards on sewage pollution will be met with significant sanctions to ensure they cannot profit from breaking the law.
While the Tories have allowed Britain’s waterways to become an open sewer, under Labour’s new plans, Ofwat would have been able to block six out of nine water bosses’ bonuses last year due to high levels of pollution into our rivers, lakes and seas.
This comes as water companies asked customers to pay an extra £156 a year, despite water bosses pocketing millions in bonuses. According to company reports, executives at UK water companies were paid nearly £10 million in bonuses last year.
This is part of Labour’s wider plan to put the water industry under “special measures” to end the Tory sewage scandal by 2030. This includes:
- Ensure that water bosses will face personal criminal liability for extreme and persistent lawbreaking
- Introducing severe and automatic fines for illegal discharges that water bosses cannot ignore
- Forcing all companies to monitor every single water outlet.
Gareth Thomas MP, Harrow West, said:
“The water industry and its regulatory framework are broken after 14 years of Tory government – with stinking, toxic sewage lapping up on our rivers, lakes, and seas.
“It is shocking that during a cost-of-living crisis, consumers are now being expected to pay the price, whilst CEOs are pocketing millions in bonuses.
“This Conservative government is too weak to tackle this scandal. They cut back enforcement and monitoring against water companies releasing this filth, and are now failing to prosecute bosses when they are blatantly breaking the law.
“Labour will turn the page on years of Conservative negligence. With Labour, the polluter – not the public – will pay. Labour will give Ofwat the powers to ban the payment of bonuses to water bosses until they have cleared up their filth.”