CCW has responded to today’s sentencing of Southern Water which has seen the company hit with a record fine of £90 million for a catalogue of environmental failings that resulted in widespread pollution.
The company had previously pleaded guilty to 6,971 unpermitted sewage discharges – equating to one sewer pipe leaking non-stop for seven years, according to the Environment Agency.
The sentence followed 51 guilty pleas to widespread and long-term breaches of environmental law by Southern Water between 2010 and 2015. These deliberate failings caused major harm to protected areas, conservation sites and oyster beds.
Emma Clancy, Chief Executive of the CCW, said:
“The scale of this fine should send a very clear message that harm to the environment will not be tolerated – but it would have a far greater impact if the money was reinvested in the region where the damage was caused.
“We recognise that Southern Water has already taken steps to ensure these past offences and failures are never repeated and we hope this marks a turning point for the company so it can repair customers’ fractured trust.”
It marks the end of the largest criminal investigation in the Environment Agency’s 25-year history with the pollution offences stemming from 16 waste water treatment works and one storm overflow.