To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations he has received from the Environment Agency in relation to its latest report on the environmental performance of Southern Water for 2020; and will he make a statement.
19 July 2021
The Government works closely with the regulators including the Environment Agency and Ofwat to support their work to monitor Southern Water's performance and to hold them to account to deliver improvements for their customers and the environment.
The EPA report which spans the last 12 months makes for extremely disappointing reading. Even the industry-leading water companies have more work to do, especially on the use of storm overflows. The worse performing companies like Southern are still failing to live up to their responsibilities to regulators, their customers and the environment. Water companies have a legal duty to avoid pollution to our rivers and other waterways.
Although it has improved on last year's one star rating, Southern Water remains one of the worst performing companies. Southern has a package of undertakings to deliver, following enforcement action in 2018. The package includes steps to improve investment and performance at its wastewater treatment works and to increase transparency for customers about its environmental performance.
I met with Southern Water's management team earlier this year to discuss their environmental performance. Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, also recently met with Southern Water's Chair, and the Secretary of State will be meeting with them to discuss their 2020 EPA results.