Anthony has called on Ofwat to get tougher on water companies by banning those who are fined for illegally dumping sewage from paying dividends to shareholders or bonuses to senior managers.
In a question to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Mr Browne noted that the discharge of sewage into waterways “is clearly completely unacceptable”, emphasising the “beautiful chalk streams of South Cambridgeshire” in his question. Highlighting the Ofwat consultation into linking dividend payments to environmental performance, Anthony called on the regulator to go further, saying “Enforcement is a lot more effective if we hit owners and senior executives where it hurts most: in their pockets”.
He continued “Does [the Sec of State] also agree that the Government should consider going further and banning water companies that are fined for illegally dumping pollution from paying any bonus to their senior management team or dividends to their owners for one year? When bankers break the law, they lose their bonuses. Should not the same happen to water company executives?”
Commenting afterwards, Anthony said: “Time to send a message to the water companies - if you don't meet the target, and you don't get paid.”
“I've long been calling for bonuses and dividends paid to senior water company managers to be aligned with their company’s requirements to meet environmental objectives. This is exactly what happens in other industries – it is what should happen here. I will be pushing Ofwat to make a strong statement and hit offending companies where it really hurts…their wallets!”.
A selection of Anthony's actions on water in South Cambs since 2019:
- lobbied the Environment Agency to reassess South Cambridgeshire's status and elevated its status
- worked with Water Resources East and the Cam Valley Forum to promote a new reservoir (the first in Britain since the 1970s) to ease demand on water abstraction in the region.
- had discussions with DEFRA ministers and officials to ensure that the new Environmental Land Management Scheme - which replaces the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy subsidies – will provide financial incentives for farmers to adopt practices that reduce abstraction and protect chalk streams.
- written to the water regulator Ofwat to urge them to use their powers to require water companies to protect chalk streams
- written to Natural England, to ask them to give legal protection to chalk streams as a threatened habitat. This will strengthen the powers of the Environment Agency to preserve them.
- written to the Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, asking her to commit the Council to ensuring that new housebuilding does not lead to greater water abstraction.
- written to and met with Cambridge Water’s Managing Director, Andy Willicott, and Head of Water Strategy to press the case for protecting our chalk streams while keep our taps flowing.
- met with the Environment Secretary numerous times, including after the Duke of Wellington's amendment on sewage discharge to suggest proposals to that were later voted into law to place a clear legal duty on water companies to progressively reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows
- written to Anglian Water to demand answers over any potential breaches of their sewage discharge licences and will meet with them to hear how they intend to comply with legislation brought forward in the 2021 Environment Act