MP Richard Foord has called for South West Water to be overhauled following an overdue apology for sewage dumping. In a statement issued through Water UK, water and sewage companies admitted to dragging their heels on taking action to stop sewage discharges into our coastlines, rivers and lakes.
Lewis Clarke www.devonlive.com
In the wake of this announcement, Tiverton & Honiton MP Richard Foord has said the apology is far too late, and that it is meaningless unless the firm is completely reformed.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for water firms to become “public benefit companies,” making environmental goals more important than profits, and making it compulsory for environmental experts to sit on their company boards.
They say this would put an end to billions of pounds being wasted in dividends whilst sewage destroys waterways.
Devon Liberal Democrats are also demanding an apology from the region’s Conservative MPs, saying they repeatedly voted down tougher action on water firms.
Commenting, MP Richard Foord said: “This announcement is too little too late after years of putting public health at risk and large-scale environmental damage, which has previously been arrogantly dismissed by the water industry.
“This apology means nothing unless the firm is completely reformed from top to bottom. Protecting the environment should be more important than making overseas investors rich. Sadly, South West Water still has their priorities all wrong.
“To add insult to injury, this Conservative MPs across the West Country have spent recent years voting down tougher action on polluting water firms. They too owe people an apology.”
Mr Foord has welcomed the announcement that Ofwat has launched an investigation into South West Water, warning that the company has ‘serious failings’ that need to be addressed. Commenting, Richard Foord said: “The fact that Ofwat has launched this investigation into South West Water reinforces what we already knew – that there are serious failings in the way some of our utility companies are being run.
“This action is overdue, as it’s clear that South West Water is being run for the benefit of shareholders; our local communities are an afterthought. Their negligence has seen a stream of sewage dumped in our rivers and on our beaches, while communities are left facing burst pipes and hosepipe bans.
“The Government has repeatedly rebuffed Liberal Democrats’ efforts to clamp down on this behaviour, claiming that Ofwat has the ability to properly regulate the actions of water companies. Sadly, to date we’ve seen little tangible action.
“Now is their chance to prove they mean business and reassure the public that water company bosses will not be allowed to get away with this shockingly poor performance.”
A South West Water spokesperson said: “We agree with the messages shared by Water UK. As we have said, we know there is more to do. We are investing more than ever before, we have a plan and it is working. We take our responsibilities to customers, the environment and society as a whole extremely seriously. We won’t give up until people have a water company they are proud of.”
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