Lib Dems call for Clean Water Authority (that could be based in Woking!)

13 Jun 2024
Will on the canal relaxed

Lib Dems call for Clean Water Authority that could be based in Woking to tackle sewage dumping and overhaul failing water industry 

Yesterday, the Liberal Democrats announced plans to launch the Clean Water Authority, a tough new regulator with powers to take decisive action against failing water companies over the sewage scandal.  This new body might be based in Woking. 

The party would scrap Ofwat and replace it with a new tougher regulator called Clean Water Authority which would have powers to:  

- Ban bonuses for water company bosses 

- Revoke the licence of poorly performing water companies swiftly 

- Force water firms to publish the full scale of their sewage spills 

- Reform water companies to put local environmental experts on the boards of companies 

- Set legally binding targets on sewage discharges  

The party would consult on the new headquarters of Clean Water Authority, with a shortlist of locations around England and Wales impacted heavily by sewage pollution, which could include Woking. 

It comes as analysis by the Lib Dems has identified that since 2019, Conservative MPs have voted 1,621 times against tougher measures to tackle the sewage scandal.  The votes included strengthening provisions against sewage dumping, making water company bosses criminally liable for sewage discharges and reducing the fines polluters are made to pay. 

Will Forster, Lib Dem candidate for Woking, said: 

“People are rightly outraged that Conservative MPs have let water companies get away with pumping their filthy sewage into our rivers and beaches.” 

“Our plan to set up the Clean Water Authority would help end the Conservative sewage scandal once and for all.  As Woking’s MP, I would fight to get the Clean Water Authority based in Woking, which would be a big boost for our town.” 

“Through a tough new regulator, we will make sure water companies put the environment and their customers first instead of lining the pockets of their shareholders.” 

“Every vote for the Lib Dems at this election is a vote for a strong local champion who will fight to clean up our rivers and protect the environment.” 

The new regulator Clean Water Authority would also have the power to ban bonuses for water company executives.  Water company bosses in England and Wales have received a staggering £54 million in benefits, bonuses and incentives since the 2019 election.  It comes despite 1.5 million sewage dumps, lasting over 11 million hours, during that period. 

The Clean Water Authority would have the power to force water companies to publish the true scale of sewage dumping they are carrying out.  Currently, water firms are only required to record the number and duration of spills.  Under Lib Dem plans, they would be forced to publish the volume in litres of sewage discharged, essential information for understanding the true environmental impact.  

Data uncovered last week by the Lib Dems through an Environmental Information Request revealed Thames Water had pumped a staggering 14.2 billion litres of sewage into the River Thames in central London last year.  This is the equivalent of 5,680 Olympic sized swimming pools of sewage being dumped in the Thames. 

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