Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to hold water companies to account for repeated and illegal discharges of untreated wastewater.
On 25 April, we announced a legally binding target to crackdown on sewage spills from storm overflows.
We are monitoring water companies and will take action wherever necessary. We have boosted funding for the Environment Agency with £2.2 million per year specifically for water company enforcement activity so that robust action is taken against illegal breaches of storm overflow permits.
We are currently consulting on plans to reform the civil penalties the Environment Agency (EA) can issue. The consultation covers raising the cap on penalties and making it easier and quicker to issue fines where companies breach regulations but the threshold for criminal prosecution has not been met. This consultation closes on 15 May.