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Water Companies: Pollution

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL2048, tabled on 14 July 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to end the practice of water companies being permitted to self-report pollution incidents.

Answered on

28 July 2021

It is a requirement on water companies to self-report pollution incidents and there are no plans to remove this important requirement.

Pollution incidents occur as a result of a system failure and require a reactive response. The quicker the response, the better the outcome for the environment. If the self-reporting of pollution incidents was not required, the Environment Agency would be reliant on third parties to report when things have gone wrong. Water companies can inform the Environment Agency of problems much quicker than if reported by third parties.

High levels of self-reporting demonstrates honesty and transparency and is an indicator that companies are managing their systems effectively. Making this information available and reporting it in the Environment Agency's annual water company performance report shines a light on company performance. Removing this requirement would reduce transparency, be worse for the environment and would reduce the Environment Agency's ability to hold water companies to account.