BBC Panorama investigation suggests water companies can make sewage pollution disappear from official figures

The BBC has suggested that water companies can make sewage pollution disappear from the official figures.

The broadcaster has reported that BBC Panorama has obtained leaked documents suggesting United Utilities wrongly downgraded dozens of pollution incidents last year.

The programme alleges it found more than 60 cases where the company appeared to have wrongly downgraded the incidents to the lowest level, category 4.

BBC Panorama has also reported it spoke to whistleblowers at the Environment Agency, who said the company was wrongly downgrading pollution incidents and that the agency was failing to conduct independent checks.

United Utilities denies misreporting pollution and said it was false to suggest it misreports pollution incidents and that the final categorisations are decided by the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency declined to be interviewed for the programme, but said in a statement that some monitoring of water companies could be done remotely.

“We take our responsibility to protect the environment very seriously,” it said. “We respond to every incident and always attend those where there is a significant risk.”

BBC Panorama: The Water Pollution Cover-Up is on BBC One at 8pm, Monday 4th December, and is available on BBC iPlayer.

SourceBBC

NEWS CATEGORIES

LATEST NEWS

Publication of water company draft determinations to be delayed until 11 July

The economic regulator of the water sector, Ofwat, has confirmed it will delay its publication of water company draft determinations until 11 July 2024. Previously...

CHEMUK Expo records a 17% increase in visitors for the 2024 edition

CHEMUK 2024 opened its doors on 15th & 16th May at the NEC in Birmingham to a record attendance of 4641 visitors (excluding exhibitor...

Anglian Water Services Ltd convicted in Environment Agency case

Anglian Water Services Ltd has been found guilty of failing, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a requirement to provide records by the Environment...

Sewer upgrade scheme supports nature reserve enhancements

A Northumberland nature reserve is set for upgrades that will improve the visitor experience of tens of thousands of people a year. Supported by match...