A speech by EA Chair Alan Lovell outlines better manage water supply. He argues that “to grip the existential risk of supply and demand we will need to ask the public to do two things:

  • Save water, and
  • Pay more for it.”

Read the full speech

Support for a £25 million penalty cap for pollution

Giving evidence to the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Environment Agency chair Alan Lovell said £10m-£25m would be an appropriate cap for penalties that could be imposed on polluting water companies.

Former Defra secretary of state Ranil Jayawardena supported raising the cap from the current £250,000 to £250m, but Lovell said that he personally considered £250m “higher than should be given to us for a penalty”. He explained: “I think it is important that there is a distinction between a less serious issue, which we deal with using a penalty, and the time-consuming but ultimately visible and vital process of taking things through the court and asking it to levy a fine.”

Lovell said the EA was currently in discussion with Defra on what the limit should be, and that this was one of four possible changes being considered to the EA’s variable money penalty imposing powers. The others were:

  • Making penalties available for Environmental Permitting Regulation offences.
  • Applying a civil standard of proof rather than a criminal standard of proof more widely.
  • Hypothecation for the Agency to be able to use penalties to do its work better

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