Pollution falls as water quality improves says Environment Agency

The number of serious pollution incidents at water companies in England in 2015 decreased to 59 – close to record lows last seen in 2010 according to the Environment Agency's annual performance report.

The decrease from 61 serious incidents in 2014 was welcomed by the agency which added "our expectation is for further reductions." There was an record low in 2015 in the number of the most serious – category 1 – incidents at four equalling last year's number. With only three of the 2015 incidents associated with sewerage this was a record low.

Water UK commented that there had been protection or improvements to 15,000km of rivers in the UK since 1995. And it pointed to the most recent Environment Agency results on bathing waters that show that 95.4% of UK waters met the required standard, while 60% achieved excellent standard.

There were three components of the agency's Environmental Performance Assessment where poor performances were recorded. These were all by one company. All other companies rated at least above average in 2015.and three firms achieved industry leading status.

In its 2015 pollution incidents report the Environment Agency logged 325 serious pollution incidents that affected the water environment – down 10% on 2014. Nearly two thirds of all serious water incidents affected water – up from 59% in 2014. The water sector was responsible for the second highest number of incidents of all categories affecting water at 62 – behind 81 caused by farming.