Three firms top EA performance league as two are pressed to improve

Severn Trent has joined Wessex Water and United Utilities as industry leaders on environmental performance, according to the Environment Agency’s annual Environmental Performance Assessment for 2017, published last Wednesday.

Each of the three companies attained the highest level four-star rating, in the league which assesses performance across a range of measures including pollution, managing sewage and complying with permits. Wessex and United have been in the top slot for three years running.

The poorest performers achieving only two-stars each (requires improvement) were South West Water, which was significantly below target on pollution incidents and Northumbrian Water, which was significantly below target on permit compliance.

The remaining four English sewerage companies – Anglian, Thames, Southern and Yorkshire – achieved three-star (good) ratings. The league is not relative, so technically all could achieve four star status.

The Environment Agency called on the industry to do more to protect the environment. Toby Willison, executive director of operations, said: “The leading companies in this report show that reducing their environmental impact can be done, so we look to companies to share good practice and improve quickly. But one serious pollution incident is one too many. We will always work closely with companies who want to do the right thing but we will take action against those who don’t.

“Over the last 30 years there has been a significant improvement in water quality and this has happened not only thanks to the industry’s massive investment but also the Environment Agency’s strong regulatory role

“The environment will benefit from a further £5 bn of investment from the water sector by 2025. We expect to see a clear and continued focus on environmental performance in the next round of water company business plans to be submitted in the autumn.”