IT’S OFFICIAL – SOUTH WEST WATER WORST RANKING WATER COMPANY FOR POLLUTION INCIDENTS
The Environment Agency’s ‘Spotlight on Environmental Performance 2002’ published
today, has revealed a disturbing increase in pollution incidents by South West
Water – a fact that does not surprise Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) in the least.
Over the last couple of weeks Surfers Against Sewage have highlighted poor
coastal water quality in the region. A pumps failure in St Agnes has led to
raw sewage flowing onto the beach at Trevaunance Cove and lifeguards placing
warning signs against bathing; sewage related debris has been collecting at
Chapel Porth beach indicating a sewage wastewater treatment works failure in
the area and 16 people contacted SAS believing they had becoming ill from surfing
in polluted water at Gwithian.
Whilst the area has benefited from several new wastewater treatment works operating
with full sewage treatment systems it seems not all is well with the operation
of some of South West Water’s works.
The EA report reflects SASs’ concerns. South West Water is the worst ranking
water company by population size for its environmental performance, with a doubling
of pollution incidents over the last year. They are also ranked as the least
compliant of water companies with regard to compliance with consents to discharge.
These consents are issued by the Environment Agency to ensure the environment
is properly protected against pollution incidents.
The Environment Agency must be commended for this report and for the warning
they have issued indicating that higher fines and more prosecutions are failing
to stop multi million pound businesses from committing environmental crimes.
South West Water’s fines for 2002 are a meagre £46,000 – and as the Environment
Agency’s Chief Executive says, "these fines are small change for big business".
Richard Hardy, Campaigns Assistant for SAS says: "South West Water’s accumulated
fines of £46,000 pounds would hardly make a dent in Company profits! The
polluter pays principal needs to be re-addressed to ensure water companies truly
pay for environmental crimes.
With water bills at their highest in the SW region water users will be dismayed
at the company’s poor performance. Yet things may yet get worse as much needed
environmental improvements may be dropped out of water companies environmental
programmes during the next Periodic Review despite public surveys revealing
we are prepared to pay a bit more if the environment benefits".
For more information please contact Richard Hardy or Vicky Garner on Tel: 01872