Who could have guessed that allowing the water companies to mark their own homework would end badly? Everyone apart from the government and the Regulators, it seems.
Some of this could have worked if the Environment Agency and Ofwat had shown some tenacity and professionalism that kept the industry in fear of being caught cheating but the companies soon realised they were safely out of control and could benefit from being under the radar.
It took WASP's Prof Peter Hammond to expose the rampant illegality that so troubled our government that they found a way to allow the companies to keep breaking the law - by just requiring some vague improvements measured by? You guessed it, themselves.
Much of the dreadfully inadequate Storm Overflow Reduction Plan that followed the Environment Act will allow water companies to keep polluting illegally if they can demonstrate reductions in dumping untreated sewage. The government rejected sensible recommendations to measure the volume of the sewage so they fall back on hours measured by Event Duration Monitors -EDMs.
Peter's report throws the credibility of that approach in the bin.
Here it is in bite-sized pieces including a section that is company specific.
It is important to note that some companies readily provide data in accordance with their obligations under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Severn Trent Water and United Utilities stand out in that in contrast to other companies responding to similar requests they do not provide the data requested. WASP is contacting the Office of the Information Commissioner in this respect. The law applies to the companies and the staff engaged in the responses to information requests.
Whistleblower protection would apply to staff being coerced to breach the regulations.
SEVERN TRENT WATER
SOUTH WEST WATER
WELSH WATER - DWR CYMRU