Water companies will be penalized'substantially,' according to the minister

riverside sewage pipe

According to Environment Minister Rebecca Pow, water companies that violate the law will face "substantial penalties," with the government still considering fines of up to £250 million.

The Times previously reported that the government was abandoning plans to raise the maximum fines for disposing of sewage in rivers and seas to £250 million.

Water companies "must act urgently," according to Ms. Pow, to enhance their performance.

But Labour charged that the government was making "the same old promises" while doing nothing.

In the spring, a consultation on raising the upper limit on civil penalties for water companies is scheduled to begin.

Former Environment Secretary Ranil Jayawardena proposed raising the maximum fine from £250,000 to £250 million in October.

The Times, however, has reported that Therese Coffey, his successor, thinks such an increase is excessive.

All options, including £250 million in fines, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has stated, are still on the table.

Concern over instances of raw sewage being dumped into rivers and oceans has increased for water companies.

Ms. Pow assured MPs that there would be severe consequences for water and sewage companies found to be in violation of the law in response to an urgent question about the performance of businesses in the Commons. We are considering whether to implement the proposed £250 million cap, and we'll be consulting on that soon. ".

The environment minister referred to the current state as "totally unacceptable," adding that both the British people and this government expect better. ".

Jim McMahon, the shadow environment secretary for Labour, charged that the government was doing nothing to penalize businesses.

We're back where we started, where the same old justifications and promises of action are repeated, he said.

"The water companies are aware that since the government won't act, they can laugh all the way to the bank. ".

Fines, according to Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, are insufficient to compel businesses to increase their performance.

The former minister claimed that Southern Water's record £90 million levied a few years ago was insufficient to get the point across.

"Since current performance suggests that so far it simply hasn't worked, could we make sure that money is levied to force investment in the network instead of fines? ".

Currently, the Environment Agency has the authority to bring both criminal and civil lawsuits against water companies that violate the law or damage the environment.

While the amount of fines that can be imposed through criminal prosecutions is uncapped, civil sanctions can be implemented more quickly and without a drawn-out legal procedure.

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