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Water company CEOs questioned on pollution failures

7 October 2021

The Environmental Audit Committee quiz bosses from five of the largest water and sewerage companies in England.


Wednesday 13 October 2021

At 2.25pm

  • Liv Garfield CBE, Chief Executive Officer, Severn Trent
  • Sarah Bentley, Chief Executive Officer, Thames Water
  • Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive Officer, Northumbrian Water Group
  • Susan Davy, Chief Executive Officer, South West Water
  • Ian McAulay, Chief Executive Officer, Southern Water

Both within media reports and as part of its inquiry on Water Quality in Rivers, the EAC has heard shocking reports of widespread pollution in our rivers:

  • Water companies discharged raw sewage into rivers in England more than 400,000 times in 2020;
  • The inquiry has previously heard that a ‘chemical cocktail’ of pollution is now affecting rivers;
  • Just 14% of English rivers currently rated an ecological status of ‘Good,’ and no river rated ‘Good’ on its chemical status. One of the main sources for this is sewage discharge from the water industry.

During this evidence session, MPs will likely explore: the effectiveness of self-monitoring sewage spills; how pollution from fats, oils and greases, chemicals, and plastic pollution can be tackled; current regulation and enforcement of pollution incidents; and whether water companies are making adequate investment to fix these problems.

This session marks the final evidence hearing for the Water Quality in Rivers inquiry. The report is due to be published by the end of the year.

Further information

Image: UK Parliament/Gabriel Sainhas