Environment Agency

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The Environment Agency (EA) convened a meeting of the National Drought Group on Tuesday (July 26) as the UK faced more dry weather following last week’s record-breaking heatwave. The regulator said although nowhere in the England is currently considered to be “in drought”, most of the country has moved into “prolonged dry status” meaning it is now taking precautionary measures to ensure water levels are maintained.
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Former CCW chair Alan Lovell has been confirmed as the new chair of the Environment Agency from September when Emma Howard Boyd's second term comes to an end. His appointment follows a committee hearing which expressed surprise that Lovell lacked understanding of key issues.
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Six of the nine water and sewerage companies in England have seen their star rating reduced in the Environment Agency's latest annual Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) for 2021, with two companies – Southern and South West – receiving just one. However, three companies – Northumbrian, Severn Trent and United Utilities – retained their top four-star rating.
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Utility Week's latest round-up of appointments across the sector includes a new chair at the Environment Agency; a non-executive director joining SES Water from BP and a new addition to the Crown Estate.
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The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) has announced its first investigation will be to determine the respective responsibilities of Defra, Ofwat and the Environment Agency with regards to the monitoring and regulation of combined sewer overflows, and whether or not they have each fulfilled their regulatory duties. The body’s chief regulatory officer Helen Venn said the probe could lead enforcement activity as well as broader actions to improve legal and regulatory systems.
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The Environment Agency has called on regional water resource management groups to align plans with one another where sharing or transferring of resources has been proposed and for groups to work across sectors to better understand future demands on non-public water supplies
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Last year there were more than 300,000 discharges from combined sewer overflows in England and Wales according to data from Environment Agency from event duration monitors (EDMs) that are installed at 89% of CSOs. The data breaks down the number of recorded spills to company level.
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United Utilities has proposed adding a climate change-linked condition to its executive bonus scheme. It said the incentive would bring the policy in line with the company's environmental and social ambitions.
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The Environment Agency has raised abstraction licence charges for the first time in 10 years. The agency said the new charging regime will be fairer, ensuring high-volume users pay more, whilst also bringing in an additional £25 million each year to help cover the costs of its water resources work.
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With growing public concern over the issue, the head of the Environment Agency James Bevan has warned that it is not pollution but instead scarcity that is the greatest threat to England’s water. He also highlighted that pollution from agriculture causes more damage to the environment than the sewage discharges that have grabbed headlines.
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Yorkshire Water has agreed to pay £300,000 to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust following a pollution incident in Leeds that occurred when an automated valve system failed to open and caused rainwater and wastewater to discharge into a waterway. The Environment Agency said it caused damage along 3.3km of a beck.
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