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Mon, Jul 15, 2024


Environmental Watchdog Sounds Alarm Over Possible Sewer Law Violations

England's environmental regulatory landscape faces scrutiny as the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) investigates potential breaches of environmental law by key government bodies. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency, and regulator Ofwat are under the spotlight, raising questions about their oversight of combined sewer overflows.

The investigation follows a complaint to the OEP, which alleges failures in meeting legal obligations regarding water companies' management of sewage, especially in the context of combined sewer overflows. While these overflows serve a critical role in preventing sewage from inundating homes during network overload, they also pose significant risks to freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems, as well as the people reliant on these environments.

The OEP emphasizes that discharges from these overflows should be rare and occur only under exceptional circumstances. However, there are concerns that the public authorities may have interpreted the law differently, potentially allowing more frequent discharges. Helen Venn, the OEP's chief regulatory officer, highlights the need for clarity and alignment in interpreting and enforcing environmental laws in this critical area.


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