Listen Live

South West Water "worst performer on pollution incidents" in the country

The Environment Agency says there's an "urgent need" for the company to improve.

The Water and Sewerage Companies’ Environmental Performance Report, released today (Wednesday 11th July) rates how well the big nine water and sewage companies managed their impact on the environment in 2017. This is done across a wide range of measures – including pollution, managing sewage and complying with permits – and also compares individual company performance.

For the third year running, United Utilities and Wessex Water were the top performing water companies, and now Severn Trent Water has joined them. These companies received the top 4 star rating.

While the majority of companies delivered a ‘good’ or ‘leading’ performance, there are some poorer performers – the report reveals an urgent need by South West Water and Northumbrian Water to improve their performance which has seen them rated lowest this year. South West Water are the worst performer on pollution incidents and Northumbrian Water on permit compliance.

Despite some good performances, the report demands far greater progress in 2018 and subsequent years. 

Toby Willison, Executive Director of Operations for the Environment Agency, 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 £5billion 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.”

In a statement South West Water said: 

“We remain on track to deliver our business plan by 2020 and have achieved our best ever performance in waste water in several key areas.  However we fully recognise that more needs to be done and have an action plan in place to drive improvement.


“Under our revised pollution reduction strategy, we remain absolutely determined to achieve 100% compliance with wastewater permits, zero serious and significant pollution incidents, a big reduction in other incidents and a further increase in self-reporting.


“Our continued focus on compliance at challenging sites and ongoing monitoring of their performance will ensure that our numeric compliance improves significantly during 2018.” 

More from Local News