UK government announces new water plan

The UK government has launched is new ‘Plan for Water’ which aims to improve water security and reduce pollution. The plan promises increased investment, stronger regulation, and tougher enforcement for polluters, including pollution from storm overflows, agriculture, plastics, road run-off and chemicals.

The plan includes a commitment to undertake a public consultation on a ban on the use of plastic in wet wipes. It also requires water companies to bring forward £1.6 billion of investment in infrastructure upgrades between now and 2025. Agricultural support will be boosted with an additional £34 million to tackle water pollution and increase food production, and a further £10 million will be provided for farm reservoirs and irrigation.

The plan includes the creation of a new Water Restoration Fund through which fines from water companies will be invested to support water quality projects and community-led schemes that protect waterways.

Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey said: “Our rare chalk streams and world-famous coastlines, lakes and rivers are hugely important to local communities and to nature.

“I completely understand the concerns that people have about the health and resilience of our waters, which is why I am setting out this plan for a truly national effort to protect and improve them. That includes higher penalties taken from water company profits which will be channelled back into the rivers, lakes and streams where it is needed.

“This is not straightforward, but I take this issue extremely seriously and things need to change. That’s why we have developed this plan and we are committed to delivering the progress that people want to see.”