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CCW responds to OEP’s concerns over regulation of sewer overflows

CCW yesterday welcomed the update from the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP)relating to its investigation into regulation of combined sewer overflows (CSOs).

The OEP has identified possible failures to comply with environmental law by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Environment Agency and Ofwat as part of its information gathering for the investigation.

Responding to the update, Emma Clancy, Chief Executive of CCW, said:

We welcome these findings from the OEP and will be watching closely to see how all the parties respond. It comes at a time when fewer than half of people trust wastewater companies to protect the environment. The health of our rivers matters enormously to communities across the country. If we are going to restore people’s trust there has to be clarity over what is not only legal but also acceptable to customers who pay wastewater companies to be good stewards of the environment.

The OEP investigation aims to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the public authorities and to determine whether they have failed to comply with their respective duties. If there have been failures, the OEP will seek to improve regulation in order to achieve long-term improvement in water quality.

The public authorities have two months to respond to the Information Notices issued by the OEP. The responses will allow them to set out whether they agree with the OEP’s view, and whether they agree or not, set out any proposed remedial action or practical measures to address issues.

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