Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones has welcomed the largest infrastructure programme in water company history to tackle sewage pollution. The Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan, published last week, will revolutionise how water companies tackle the number of discharges of untreated sewage.
The Victorians introduced storm overflows as a safety valve for combined sewage systems during periods of heavy rainfall. Without them sewage would have backed up into our homes. Now, under pressure from climate change, they operate more often.
Mr Jones commented: “I welcome this plan which will mean that water companies will face strict targets and must remove storm overflows from our sewage system. While these overflows have operated for around a hundred years it is high time this use was tackled and I am proud to be among the first generation of MPs to commit to doing so. Kicking the can down the road as previous Parliaments have done is not acceptable.”
The Government has been clear that companies cannot profit from environmental damage, and Andrew voted for measures in the Environment Act to give more powers to Ofwat, the water company regulator, to enforce that. Ofwat is now consulting on measures that would ensure that water companies are transparent about how executive pay and dividends align to the delivery of services to customers, including environmental performance.
Andrew added: “I support Ofwat’s proposals to hold water companies to account and link dividend payments to their environmental performance. It is important to reward environmental progress and ensuring that this is a key factor in determining the award of dividends is a good way to do this.”