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Water companies urged to ‘up their game’ on pollution and natural capital through to 2025

31 January 2019

The UK water sector has stepped up its environmental ambition in the current business planning period, but gaps remain when it comes to reducing sewage pollution incidents and factoring in the value of natural capital.

That’s according to a new set of environmental scorecards released today (29 January) by Blueprint for Water, part of the Wildlife and Countryside Link – the largest environment coalition in England.

Through the scorecards, Blueprint for Water analyses the strength of the water companies’ current plans to protect and improve the environment over the next five-year business cycle of 2020-2025, referred to in the industry as ‘PR19’.

Generally speaking, the water suppliers’ PR19 plans indicate a “positive step change in environmental ambition from the water sector” compared with the previous planning period. However, there are also some ‘key areas which need actioning’ – notably those that relate to natural capital, pollution incidents, water efficiency of customers, and environmental advocacy.

Blueprint for Water chair Hannah Freeman said: “We’ve seen a welcome and notable increase in environmental ambition from water companies in their most recent financial plans. However, there’s still a long way to go, with too many severe pollution events and untreated sewage entering our waterways and well over a thousand Olympic-sized swimming pools of water leaked from pipes every day. We want all future plans to routinely factor in enhancing the natural capital that water companies rely on, to help both business and nature to thrive.”