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Portsmouth MP calls on Government to give the water regulator powers to ban bosses’ bonuses until they clean up their filth

By 5 December 2023No Comments

Stephen Morgan MP has joined calls on the Government to give the water regulator powers to ban bosses’ bonuses until they clean up their filth, as seawater quality on Portsmouth’s coastline continues to decline.

The City MP has welcomed the decision to table a motion to the House of Commons calling on the government to give the water regulator powers to ban the payment of bonuses to water bosses who are polluting our rivers, lakes, and seas.

Labour will use an Opposition Day Debate on Tuesday to bring forward this motion and Mr Morgan will be voting to extend Ofwat powers to punish companies discharging significant levels of raw sewage into the UK’s waterways.

It comes as a BBC Panorama investigation found evidence of a water company covering up illegal sewage discharges, making sewage pollution disappear from the official figures.

Mr Morgan previously condemned reports that Southern Water, operating in Portsmouth, illegally discharged sewage 63 times in 2022 for 792 hours, and has taken a range of actions to finally bring an end to sewage pollution.

Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, Steve Reed MP, has outlined plans to end years of Conservative negligence and put the water industry under special measures.

By expanding the regulatory powers of Ofwat, water bosses who fail to meet high environmental standards on sewage pollution will be met with significant sanctions to ensure they cannot profit from breaking the law.

This is part of Labour’s wider plan to put the water industry under special measures:

  • End self-monitoring and force all companies to monitor every single water outlet.
  • Ensure that water bosses will face personal criminal liability for extreme and persistent lawbreaking.
  • Introducing severe and automatic fines for illegal discharges that water bosses cannot ignore.

Commenting, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

After years of allowing our precious environment to be polluted with sewage the Government is being provided with another opportunity to finally take action through the motion in the House of Commons today.

It cannot be right that Southern Water have been allowed to dump sewage in Portsmouth’s bathing waters without consequence, while customers are being asked to pay an extra £156 a year. 

That’s why I will be voting to end the sewage scandal once and for all, ensuring water bosses who continue to oversee law-breaking on the scale now becoming apparent will face criminal charges.”

Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, Steve Reed MP, said:

“This Conservative Government has wilfully turned a blind eye to negligence at the heart of the water industry.

“The result is stinking, toxic sewage destroying our countryside, and consumers facing higher bills while water bosses pocket millions in bonuses.

“With Labour, the polluter – not the public – will pay. Water companies must immediately be placed under special measures.”

Protecting Portsmouth’s precious environment is one of Mr Morgan’s priorities. The Portsmouth MP has taken a range of actions to tackle the impacts of the dirty water crisis locally, including questioning Ministers, convening a public meeting on the issue and working alongside local organisations and charities to hold government and industry to account.