Water: Pollution Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 26 April 2022.

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Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of English waters are projected to reach good ecological status by 2027; and what steps he plans to take to achieve that target.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Improving water quality is a government priority. We have committed to improve at least three quarters of our waters to close to their natural state as soon as practicable. The Environment Agency sets objectives for the ecological status of England's water bodies, including rivers, and the measures to achieve them in our river basin management plans. The objectives for water bodies over the next six-year cycle (2021-2027) are contained in the updated draft river basin management plans that were available until 22 April for statutory public consultation:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/draft-river-basin-management-plans-2021

We are also currently seeking views on a suite of Environment Act 2021 targets which includes new targets on water. These will improve the health of our rivers by reducing nutrient pollution and contamination from abandoned metal mines in water courses and improve water use efficiency. The Environment Act also places new duties on the water industry to take action on reducing harm from storm overflows. Water company investment in environmental improvements has been scaled up to £7.1 billion over the period 2020-25. Through the next Price Review (PR24) we are using the strategic policy statement to Ofwat, the economic regulator, to make the environment a top priority. This additional action will improve the quality of our rivers.

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