Water companies face fines in the millions for dumping raw sewage into rivers and seas after Southern Water record fine
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The new environment secretary has vowed that businesses will face punishments of up to £250m for damaging the environment.
Ranil Jayawardena warned water company chiefs that if they do not do more to prevent effluent flowing into open water, he will institute an up to 1,000-fold increase in civil fines.
‘I asked them to write to me with their plans to accelerate investment in infrastructure. They did and now they must deliver.
‘Privatisation has put in £170 billion of investment into our water infrastructure already, and the private sector will now put in another £56 billion more.
‘And, if they don’t deliver, I can confirm to you today that we will take forward plans to lift the Environment Agency’s maximum civil fine for each individual breach of the rules from up to just £250,000, to up to £250 million.’
The plan involves launching a formal consultation on lifting the current £250,000 cap for Environment Agency fines for companies that breach rules.
Water firms are being criticised for not investing money back into the UK’s outdated water infrastructure.
Pressure is mounting on ministers to intervene.