Some of us are concerned about the numerous raw sewage discharges into the river Monnow within the town of Monmouth.
This is not just a local problem and on other U K rivers the situation is often far far worse than here.
It is expected that our society will be taking up the matter with Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales in 2020, but this recent article published in ‘The Angler’ gives a real insight into the problem.
The writer has investigated the problem of tying down the body responsible and it is not as simple as I first thought. It appears that almost all the water companies are privately owned and shares mostly in the hands of foreign investors. These companies are responsible to their shareholders and to OFWAT, their regulator. They are not directly responsible to the tax paying angler and our complaints are unlikely to be given a hearing.
The government department overseeing our water, its supply and waste treatment, is DEFRA.
Under DEFRA, OFWAT is the government’s water services regulator overseeing the 25 water companies. Not the EA.
The Environment Agency is a non-departmental body tasked with the protection and enhancement of our environment in England (not sure how NRW fits in here). The EA is sponsored by DEFRA but not a department of DEFRA.
The level of investment in the water companies is determined by OFWAT with 5 year programmes. If there is a problem with underinvestment in a water company, then OFWAT is responsible, supposing that our government has given them sufficient money.
If a water company is underperforming due to underinvestment then the EA should be taking OFWAT to task. For other reasons the EA goes to the water company or OFWAT.
So often one government department is fining another government department. So it is little wonder that fines get reduced.
The above article is reproduced here with kind permission of Fish Legal and Angling Trust.