Therese Coffey admits consumers have to pay for sewer repair bills
Here, Coffey appeared to accept that billpayers would have to bear “a large part” of the cost of infrastructure improvements designed to prevent sewage from entering England’s seas and waterways.
Water companies in England last week announced a £10billion plan to reduce discharges of waste water into rivers and seas while apologizing for pollution.
However, activists were outraged that the proposals would put consumers at higher bills to repay the investment.
Therese Coffey, who said she was “pretty sick of water companies” and that the sector was right to apologize, confirmed that “many” private sector investments in the water industry “are being paid back by bills”.
But she said penalties and fines that private water companies are required to pay could result in billpayers being reimbursed.
This comes after Anglian Water last week said customer bills were likely to rise by £91 a year to fund £10billion in industry investment, £12 of which went to modernizing storm spillways.
Flood drains, of which there are 15,000 in England, currently drain excess sewage and rainwater when they overload to prevent drains from overloading and backing up in homes.
Ms Coffey was asked on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday whether it was correct to say consumers would foot the bill for the improvement work, and said: “It will be a combination.
“Of course penalties and fines are paid by the company, not the bill payer.
“But in terms of overall payments, I think you’re right when you say a lot of that investment will be paid back through bills.”
The Environment Secretary said the £10bn announced by the private sector would go towards an overall £56m storm surge plan by the UK Government.
She has urged water companies to have an action plan for “every single storm flood” on their desks by the end of next month.
According to the Environment Agency, there were 301,091 discharges of waste water in England in 2022, equivalent to 1.75 million hours of discharge, not counting the amount of waste water.
The government’s storm spill reduction plan, released in August 2022, aims to prevent sanitation discharge by 2050, while increasing runoff near “high priority” areas by 75% by 2035 and 100% by 2045 to reduce.
Ms Coffey used an interview with the BBC to criticize the record of other countries in the UK in dealing with sewage leaks.
She told Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “Honestly we wouldn’t even know about it if a Conservative government didn’t insist on monitoring and publishing this data.
“We don’t see that in Scotland. And frankly, on average, Wales has a lot more sewage flows than England.”
Monitoring stations for Welsh Water, a non-profit organisation, show the company discharged sewage for 602,987 hours in 2022, while public company Scottish Water recorded 14,008 spills in 2022, equivalent to 113,230 hours.
Northern Ireland is not required to provide the same data
Ms Coffey told her that the European Environment Agency rated Britain’s bathing water as the worst on the continent, “that’s not true”.
“We now have 92.9% of our bathing waters as good or excellent – that was last summer,” she said.
“That’s an increase from 70% in 2010. There has definitely been investment and effort made to ensure our bathing waters are getting cleaner and cleaner.”
The Liberal Democrats have urged Ms Coffey to apologize for the number of sewage discharges that have been allowed under the Tory government’s oversight.
The party’s environment spokesman, Tim Farron, said: “The sewage scandal is a damning judgment on the government’s failure to protect our prized rivers and lakes.”
“While the water utilities have apologized, Therese Coffey has still failed to apologize.
“She heads a government that continues to allow water companies to dump massive amounts of wastewater into our rivers.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-water-bill-therese-coffey-storm-liberal-democrats-conservative-b1082627.html Therese Coffey admits consumers have to pay for sewer repair bills