The MP for Ryedale has welcomed news that water bosses are set to be banned from receiving bonuses if a company has committed serious criminal breaches

Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton said he was pleased the Government was taking decisive action as part of a wider strategy to tackle water pollution.

Yesterday (Sunday) Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said water company bosses are set to be banned from receiving bonuses if their companies let illegal sewage spills pollute beaches and rivers.

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Mr Barclay called on water company bosses to take responsibility for “inexcusable breaches” damaging the environment.

He said: “No-one should profit from illegal behaviour and it’s time that water company bosses took responsibility for that. Tougher action is needed to address poor performance by water companies, which is why I am pleased Ofwat is going further today on bonus payments. In cases where companies have committed criminal breaches there is no justification whatsoever for paying out bonuses. It needs to stop now.

“I will shortly be setting out more detail on further steps to clean up our waters, including reducing the reliance on water company self-monitoring in order to hold them to account and drive the improvements we all need to see.”

Last year, ten water bosses received bonuses totalling £2.5 million yet raw sewage was discharged an average of 1,090 times a day in the 12 months to November 2023, according to Surfers Against Sewage.

At the same time, companies set out plans to increase consumers’ bills by about £156 per year to pay for investments to prevent 140,000 sewage overflow spills a year.

Regulator Ofwat will be taking forward a consultation to define the criteria for a ban which would apply to all executive board members and Chief Executives. It is expected to come into effect later this year, subject to the consultation.

Mr Hollinrake said: "These measures form part of the Government's wider strategy to tackle water pollution, something I know my constituents in North Yorkshire care greatly about. I have previously met with the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and DEFRA as well as local environment groups to discuss the health and cleanliness of our local rivers and I'm pleased this Government is taking decisive action."