Since water industry privatisation in 1989, around £25 billion has been invested to reduce pollution from sewage, covering improvements in sewage treatment and in sewer overflows. In England, between 2015 and 2020, water companies are investing over £3 billion to improve their sewerage infrastructure. This has helped to achieve a 61% reduction in the amount of phosphorus load and a 72% reduction in the amount of ammonia discharged from sewage treatment works since 1995. In addition, 7,000 sewer overflows have been improved since 1995, reducing the impact of pollution from sewage discharges.
The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan contains a number of actions to achieve our aim of clean and plentiful water, including increasing the uptake of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). SuDS features such as permeable surfaces, storage tanks and ponds, can help improve water quality as well as reduce the risk of surface water flooding. A revised National Planning Policy Framework, which further encourages SuDS in new developments was published on 24 July 2018.
In addition, Government recently consulted on proposals to improve long-term planning for drainage and wastewater management.