Sir Bill Wiggin, Member of Parliament for North Herefordshire, has backed the next stage of the Government’s plan to tackle sewage pollution by strengthening legal requirements on water companies.  

The Government’s plan requires the largest infrastructure programme in water company history to tackle sewage overflows.   

The plan invests in priority sites such as protected habitats and bathing waters. Since August 2022, £1.6 billion has been invested in speeding up vital water infrastructure projects, cutting thousands of overflow spills each year.  

Ministers also reconfirmed the introduction of unlimited penalties so that polluters pay for damaging the environment, with funds now being reinvested into rivers and water bodies.  

The Environment Secretary has required water companies to provide a plan for every overflow by the end of June.   

As a result of mandatory monitoring, which is up from just 7% in 2010 to 100% by the end of this year, regulators are conducting the largest investigation into illegal sewage dumping by water companies in history, building on record fines of £141 million secured since 2015.  

Sir Bill said:   

“The issue of pollution in the River Wye is one that we are all sadly too familiar with.   

So I welcome the Government’s move to introduce unlimited fines on water companies that are found to be guilty of environmental pollution.   

If we want to restore the River Wye and end the planning moratorium, Welsh Water has got to play its part.   

This government has not only introduced comprehensive monitoring but has also incentivised water companies to act responsibly.  

I urge ministers to use the full force of the law to ensure that Welsh Water clean up their act accordingly.”  

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Therese Coffey MP, commented:  

“It was a Conservative government that introduced 100 per cent monitoring of storm overflows.   

We’ve brought forward stronger regulations, tougher enforcement, and the largest water infrastructure programme in history – an expected £56 billion investment – and we will make fines unlimited so that the polluter always pays.”