Water company cleans up its act

A WATER company that was once one of the biggest polluters in the industry is now well down the "prosecution league" – despite a 26% annual rise in offences nationally.

A WATER company that was once one of the biggest polluters in the industry is now well down the prosecution league - despite a 26% annual rise in offences nationally.

In the 1990s the number of sewage-related offences committed by Anglian Water meant it was near the top of the polluters' league table compiled by Environmental Data Services, a leading professional journal.

But in the latest table, the company was in eighth place among the 11 regional water and sewage companies.

Top of the table for the second year running was Southern Water with 14 offences and total fines and costs of almost £110,000.

Prosecutions of the regional water companies for pollution offences increased by 26% in 2004 to 87 and total fines rose by 35% to more than £500,000 as the courts reacted to the Government's call to "make the polluter pay".

But Anglian Water was successfully prosecuted on only three occasions last year, a similar number to 2003, although the amount it had to pay in fines and costs was more than £61,000 compared with £54,000 the previous year.

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Anglian Water's improved performance since the 1990s has been achieved by enhancements in the sewage treatment network across the region. It has spent £250million since 2000 and a further £410m investment has been scheduled.

An Anglian Water spokeswoman said: "We have worked very hard and the region's rivers and coastal waters are the cleanest they have ever been. But we are not being complacent and more investment is being made."

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