A summary of the environmental performance of the 9 water and sewerage companies operating in England.

Environment Agency Chair calls the performance “very disappointing”, with “minimal improvement in star ratings compared to 2021”.

The Environment Agency says that, for 2022, the main performance messages for the sector are:

  • 5 water companies are rated as requiring improvement (2 stars) in our EPA – 3 water companies are rated as good (3 stars) and one water company (Severn Trent) achieved 4 stars
  • minimal improvement in EPA star ratings compared to 2021 – the majority of companies are not meeting basic environmental requirements and need to improve to achieve and sustain expected levels of regulatory and environmental performance
  • the number of serious pollution incidents (category 1 and 2) reduced to 44 but remained unacceptably high and numbers have been erratic in recent years – we expect to see a more sustained reduction in numbers trending towards zero
  • for the serious pollution incident EPA metric, 4 companies performed significantly below target (red) – more than half of serious incidents were from the assets of 2 water companies (Anglian Water and Thames Water)
  • total pollution incidents from sewerage and water supply assets (category 1 to 3) increased to 2,026, the highest number recorded since 2019 – the vast majority were from sewerage assets but there was also a rise in incidents from water supply assets
  • the number of total pollution incidents from sewerage assets, our EPA metric, was similar to 2021 and remains too high – Southern Water and South West Water continued to perform significantly below target (red)
  • self-reporting of all pollution incidents by water companies was 82%, the best since the start of the EPA in 2011 – however this contrasts with only 48% of serious incidents being self-reported
  • 0% of sewage treatment works (STW) and water treatment works (WTW) were compliant with numeric permit conditions for discharging treated wastewater – this is an improvement but compared to recent years compliance across the sector is not consistent
  • for the satisfactory sludge use and disposal EPA metric, all water companies performed better than target (green)
  • 5% of planned environmental improvement schemes were completed from the Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP) – 3 water companies failed to meet all requirements within planned deadlines (Thames Water rated red, Anglian Water and South West Water rated amber for this EPA metric)
  • one water company (South West Water) performed significantly below target (red) for the Supply Demand Balance Index (SDBI) EPA metric

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