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

Severn Trent Water fined £2 million for ‘reckless’ pollution

Severn Trent Water has been ordered to pay a fine of £2,072,000 for allowing huge amounts of raw sewage to discharge into the River...

SCAPE launches £4bn frameworks to unlock low carbon utilities infrastructure

SCAPE, one of the UK’s leading public sector procurement specialists, has launched its new Utilities Works and Services frameworks, designed to empower utility sector...

New Hong Kong desalination plant begins delivering fresh water to 137,000 homes

The new Tseung Kwan O desalination plant is the first to use reverse osmosis technology in Hong Kong. Construction of the first stage plant...

JD Pipes expands Colchester branch by 75% with enhanced facilities and services

JDP (John Davidson Pipes), a manufacturer and supplier of civils and drainage products, has announced the major expansion of its Colchester branch. Recently re-opened, this...