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Wessex WaterWessex Water has been described as a company that ‘requires improvement’ for the second year running, according to a report by the Environment Agency.

The water utility’s performance has failed to improve its two-star rating in the tables (out of a possible 4 stars), due to five serious pollution incidents, the report says. Overall, there were 110 pollution incidents in 2022, up from 72 incidents the previous year, partly due to spills proactively reported by the company.

Despite the rating, in its annual report on the environmental performance of England’s nine water and sewerage companies the Environment Agency recognises there are positive aspects for Wessex Water, including being the leading company for self-reporting of incidents, a high level of permit compliance and maintaining resilient water supplies against increased demand last year.

Area Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, Ian Withers said: ‘Wessex Water’s two-star rating is a consequence of five serious pollution incidents the company was responsible for last year.

‘The company accepts that it has more to do to reduce the frequency of pollution events, and our regulation of their operations tells us that Wessex Water is working hard to achieve this.

‘We will continue to demand that the company focuses on this priority, and our officers will be undertaking a rigorous programme of inspections that we hope will encourage Wessex Water to deliver improvements to its sewerage networks, treatment processes and overall environmental performance.’

The report comes as the government today published a new law to allow the Environment Agency to impose unlimited civil sanctions on water companies for environmental offences. It means it will be quicker and easier for penalties to be imposed, although the most serious cases will still be taken through criminal proceedings.

Water table:

Severn Trent Water –  4 stars, the same as the previous year
Northumbrian Water – 3 stars, down from 4 stars
United Utilities – 3 stars, down from 4 stars
Yorkshire Water – 3 stars, up from 2 stars
Anglian Water – 2 stars, the same as the previous year
Thames Water – 2 stars, the same as the previous year
Wessex Water – 2 stars, the same as the previous year
Southern Water – 2 stars, up from 1 star
South West Water – 2 stars, up from 1 star

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