The Green Party has reiterated its call for water companies to be brought into public ownership after Water UK apologised for presiding over a rising tide of sewage discharges.
Water UK represents 25 water companies across the UK and said that the public was ‘right to be upset about the current quality of our rivers and beaches’. The companies have also promised to triple funding for sewer system upgrades, cut spilly by up to 25 per cent by 2030, and provide the public with ‘near real-time’ data on sewage spills.
Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: “Rivers and coastlines up and down the country have faced years of assault at the hands of the water companies and a government that has refused to act.
“Saying sorry is simply not enough - and suggesting that the public has to pay for any improvements, after £57bn has been paid out in payouts to shareholders over the last 30 years, just adds insult to injury.
“Currently water companies can, almost with impunity, dump sewage into our rivers, waterways and coastal waters with an appalling cost to public health and our wildlife. This situation cannot go on.
“For decades, money that should have been invested in improved infrastructure has been trousered by water company executives and shareholders.
“Only the Greens have the courage to challenge this failed experiment with privatisation and to say that a service as vital as water and sewage needs to be run by the public and for the public good.
“Shareholder payouts need to be halted with immediate effect and, ultimately, the water supply needs to be brought back into public ownership at the earliest practicable opportunity in order to end leaks, stop sewage discharges and cut bills.”
According to the Environment Agency, the top three most polluted rivers in the UK are River Severn (pictured – Severn Trent Water), River Calder (Yorkshire Water), and River Aire (Yorkshire Water). Both Severn Trent Water and Yorkshire Water are represented by Water UK.