As reported in the Guardian, Severn Trent and Anglian Water say they will accelerate efforts to protect rivers after the government and regulators called on the sector to do more.

Last month, the environment minister Rebecca Pow called on water companies to significantly improve their practices in England and Wales to support the local environment.

The minister said the water sector should dramatically reduce the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows to protect rivers.

The two water companies said they will sharply reduce their use of storm overflows as part of five commitments they claim will help prevent harm to rivers.

Liv Garfield, the chief executive officer of Severn Trent, said the industry “hasn’t managed to keep pace with expectations” as she announced the latest plan.

“Public perception wants us to move faster,” she added. “When you look at the evidence in the data, the situation improves year on year.”

The companies also said they would help wildlife thrive on rivers and committed to being transparent about their plans and progress through work with non-government organisations.

ENDS also reported that: The firms have pledged that no river in their catchments will be unhealthy because of their operations by 2030, and say they will use the Environment Agency measures of ‘Reasons for Not Achieving Good Ecological Status’ (RNAGS) to judge their success.

Last year, the Environment Agency admitted “uncertainty” over whether or not it would achieve the legal river quality goal set by the Water Framework Directive, which the RNAGS measures are based on.

Severn Trent and Anglian Water have made five pledges in total, including a commitment to ensure that by 2032, 90% of the population living in their regions will live within an hour’s drive of a designated bathing site.

They also say they will launch a “new deal for farmers” this spring to incentivise regenerative farming practices, and that they will campaign against the automatic right for developers to connect new developments.

The fully stories can be read here and here.

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