Three water and sewerage companies have been praised by water regulator, Ofwat, for their planned investment in environmental protection.

The three water companies, Severn Trent, South West Water and United Utilities, have been given the “green light” by Ofwat for their “high-quality plans” to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reduce pollution incidents and cut leakages.

Announcing the new investment plans, Ofwat Chief Executive, Rachel Fletcher said water companies were starting to listen to their customers.

“We’re seeing an increased focus on the things closest to people’s hearts such as keeping bills affordable, cutting leakage, protecting the environment and helping those most in need. Three companies have already stepped up to the mark with high-quality plans and stretching commitments to customers for the next five years.”

Across the board, water companies are proposing to cut bills by up to £70 in real terms while significantly improving support for vulnerable customers and delivering real change in the areas that customers are most concerned about. Planned improvements for 2020–25, include:

  • help for up to 1.5 million customers struggling to pay their water bills

  • a 15% reduction in leakage — the equivalent of more than 170 billion litres of water per year, which would save enough water for three months’ worth of daily showers for everyone in England and Wales

  • cutting GHG emissions by 45%, the equivalent of taking 360,000 cars off the road

  • up to 80% reduction in pollution incidents

  • at least £10 billion worth of extra investment to meet more stringent environmental standards, connect new homes and meet increased demand over the coming years.

“The rest of the sector now needs to meet this high standard so that customers across the country get better and more efficient services,” Fletcher added.

Ofwat cited four companies — Affinity Water, Hafren Dyfrdwy, Thames Water and Southern Water — as having the most work to do in order to meet the tough challenges laid down for the sector by the regulator.

Last reviewed 15 April 2019