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Severn Trent Water holds on to four-star rating in Environment Agency report

The EA's latest report reveals that the supplier has maintained its top rating


Severn Trent Water has again been awarded the maximum rating for its environmental performance, according to the latest performance review of the industry by the government.

The EA’s latest report reveals that the supplier has maintained its top rating, but that no other supplier has joined the firm at the peak of the table.

The Environment Agency’s (EA) annual report ranks the environmental performance of water suppliers from one to four stars – with four being the highest – including pollution incidents and treatment work compliance. Last year an updated reporting approach was introduced, with revised metrics and tightened performance thresholds.

The report shows some modest improvements to water company star ratings under the Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) report in 2022, compared to 2021 . Four companies have stayed the same, three have improved and two have got worse. 

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Severn Trent said it was pleased to have achieved ‘green’ status on each of the seven metrics included in the 2022 assessment, maintaining the highest four-star status for a fourth consecutive year.

Liv Garfield, chief executive, Severn Trent said: “We’re pleased to once again be recognised as an industry leader when it comes to environmental performance, achieving the Environment Agency’s highest rating for the fourth year running. Whilst the recognition is pleasing, we will continue to keep improving our performance and make a positive difference to the environment around us – whether through delivering our bold Get River Positive pledges, improving the biodiversity of 10,000 hectares of land, or launching the world’s first carbon neutral wastewater treatment site.”

Overall, this year’s report found that the number of serious pollution incidents has reduced from 62 in 2021 to 44 in 2022 but remains ‘unacceptably high’. More than half of serious pollution incidents were from assets of Anglian Water and Thames Water – EA have taken enforcement action against both companies.

The EA said that results show that although there have been some improvements, all water companies ‘need to go further and faster’.

Environment Agency chairman Alan Lovell said:  “Regulators, water companies, government, eNGOs and many others all want the same thing: better environmental outcomes, including cleaner rivers and seas. We need to work together and take collective responsibility to achieve it.

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“While there have been some modest improvements, it is unacceptable to still be seeing this level of pollution. We have seen a distinct culture shift from the water industry in recent months and that is welcome – but that must translate to profound, long-term change. 

“The Environment Agency will play its part by transforming the way we regulate the sector. We welcome this week’s announcement on unlimited penalties which will also improve our enforcement powers.”

Polluters including water companies can now face unlimited fines under new powers granted to the Environment Agency this week.

The Agency can now hand out limitless financial penalties under new legislation aimed at protecting the environment and speeding up the enforcement process. Previously the Environment Agency could only hand out fines up to £250,000 for offences.

The power will apply to permit breaches for combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and hazardous waste disposal.

The report rankings

  • 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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