Dirty old river must you keep rolling? Tories in England say ‘Yes indeed now we’re free of those EU rules!’ Douglas Ross…..?


In the Guardian today:

Leading figures in the environmental sector have written to Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the EA,after a speech in which he suggested weakening the EU water framework directive now that the UK had left the union. To do so, the signatories to the letter say, would be a backward step. The signatories are calling for more investment so that English rivers meet the target of 75% rated good by 2027. Currently just 14% of rivers are judged as good under the directive.

We’ve posted on this issue before.

From January 2020:

In a disturbing piece on Channel 4 News last night, we heard:

Untreated sewage is being released into rivers across England and Wales – perfectly legally – and campaigners are calling it a ‘dirty little secret’. This programme has now obtained exclusive figures showing how often and for how long it’s happening. Water companies are allowed to release a mixture of rainwater and sewage through special overflow pipes during spells of heavy rain – but we’ve discovered that during 2018 – there were 140,000 spills, lasting a total of 900,000 hours.


The disaster of water privatisation in England:

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated
2015 data

According to the Environment Agency reported on the BBC UK website last July:

[In England] there were 56 serious pollution incidents last year [2018], rising from 52 in 2017, the agency’s annual report said. Only one of the nine major water companies in England is performing at the expected level, with most likely to miss 2020 targets, the agency added. The report follows the agency’s announcement that Southern Water is facing prosecution after it was hit with a record £126m penalty package over “shocking” failures in its sewage treatment sites.


Meanwhile in Scotland, according to SEPA:

In 2017, for the first time in a number of years, Scottish Water was not responsible for any category 1, serious pollution incidents.

A report in Open Democracy attributes the situation in England to privatisation:

The dire state of our rivers is just one of the many, many failures of water and sewerage privatisation. It is just one example of what happens when we hand over not just time-limited contracts for delivering water and sewerage services, but the actual assets themselves – the pipes, the infrastructure – to private companies to milk for profit.


The resulting customer satisfaction:

In a ComRes survey of 199 Scots, published last July, we see:

  • Thinking generally about the company that provides your water and sewerage services, do you or do you not trust your water company? UK 86% Scotland 94%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Provide a reliable service? UK 90% Scotland 96%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Ensure good quality of water? UK 90% Scotland 95%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Fix water pipe leaks in public areas (e.g. in roads, not in the home)? UK 81% Scotland 93%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Take action to protect and improve the environment? UK 78% Scotland 87%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Take away wastewater and sewage and deal with it responsibly? UK 88% Scotland 93%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Provide good value for money to customers? UK 72% Scotland 88%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Pay an appropriate amount of tax? UK 78% Scotland 87%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Invest sufficient money on the water network? UK 73% Scotland 86%

15 thoughts on “Dirty old river must you keep rolling? Tories in England say ‘Yes indeed now we’re free of those EU rules!’ Douglas Ross…..?

  1. Let’s not forget that the London HQ’d Labour party branch in Scotland planned to privatise Scotland’s water when they were at the helm in Holyrood. They privatised the non domestic arm of Scottish Water. It’s why in all public spaces like toilets you are kucky to get a trickle to wash your hands! So does say, the SNHS have to pay a private company for water?

    Regards England, having dirty water can’t be acceptable at all, dangerous too, especially during a pandemic.
    The Tories, here, attempting to justiify their privatisation, Gove says, ‘the nation’. He means England. Presume NI and Wales’ water is in private hands? Here is Gove’s speech, ‘everyone’. Lol.


    We must NEVER allow Scottish Water to be handed to greedy profiteers. That is exactly the first thing any Britnat party would do however, given a chance, then their planned pipeline taking the water south would be built, and the people of Scotland would be billed for that as well.

    Watch out Scotland, the BritNat gov will take your water given half a chance.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Tis a word. With an umlaut.

        “German (Kück): nickname meaning ‘chicken’ (see Kueck). German: derivative of Slavic kukol ‘weed’, probably a nickname for a farmer who neglected his land.”

        and made it into a football pitch.


    1. Brit Nats cannot take our water
      Under Scots law No one can own water
      Historically water courses formed boundaries of land holdings and that is the main reason for no ownership

      And that is exactly why it was not and never shall be privatised
      Why do you think water charges are paid via your rates and not by direct bill from a water company


      1. ArtyHetty

        Actually it was under SNP in Oct. 2015 that a contract was awarded to Anglian Business Water to run the commercial arm of Scottish Water. Previously run by Edinburgh based Business Stream.
        According to Keith Brown at the time “legislation from a previous administration required this to be put out to tender.


        1. Clydebuilt
          Correct but they Do not own the water
          Only contracted to manage contract works such as sewage plant repairs and renewals etc
          It is illegal to own water here as simple as that
          I am not sure but i believe at the passing of The Water Privatation Bill by Westminster
          A exclusion clause was inserted to cater for the legal position in Scotland


  2. Maybe off tangent but related
    Given that the British State has sold of the vast majority of Public Assets since the Thatcher era
    When The IMF produced approx 10 months ago balance sheets for approx 60 odd number leading developed nations
    Here is a synopsis of the UK one
    Liabilities 3.8 Trillion in excess of Assets
    Because unlike most other leading Nations it has sold the vast majority of
    The States Assets whilst most others exercised caution in the neo liberal
    Capitalist boom days
    There are so little Fixed Assets left for UK
    When and not If the next major global fiscal shock impacts
    Note.covid 19 is now that shock
    Then UK is bankrupt
    Only generations of the severest Austerity will balance the books
    And some very Profound decisions will have to be made by the UK
    Such as Spending on NHS,State Pensions
    And Defence
    Westminster is well aware of such
    And when you factor in the loss of the substantial and disproportionate Assets of Scotland being lost upon Independence.
    Well it provoked G.Soro to sum up such a scenario
    if this all comes to pass Divest yourself of ALL What remains of theUK Assets you hold and avoid any investment in it whatsoever
    And that is exactly why we now face the fight of our lives in gaining our rightful Independence in the next couple of years
    Because England knows all too well what is at stake for them and becoming a irrelevant 3 rd rate nation beckons for them
    All akin to a severely injured trapped Bear
    Who still has large vicious paws and claws
    All I state is factual
    Back on subject at least Scotland still owns its water and most of the NHS Fixed
    Along with most of the Government owned buildings from days of old
    And all because Silly Little England considered such was of little value to the asset holdings held in Scotland as opposed to those in London & the South East
    What you sow is what you reap
    Ah but such is the complete lack of wisdom of their private elite educational establishments as they churn out supposed leaders
    You no matter what must pay your way in the World,even in the days of Quantative Easing and money printing
    England HAS the largest trade defect of all Nations bar 1
    But Scotland when measured per capita
    Has one the largest trade surpluses
    We should be running a project fear for English citizens as to what they are about to be confronted with


      1. Thanks
        But you will never hear of the ABC or MSM
        Give you even a whisper of this
        Hence Such words spewing forth from Boris and his cohorts
        Of the nature of Strength and might of the Union,world class etc.etc.etc
        History is littered with such examples of
        Words as the leaders of expiring empires
        Some may say it is I that is mad
        But i know my Foes and they are truly the Mad ones


  3. No doubt,now that we are free from EU regulations,the private water companies will be allowed to sue the government should they impose regulations which impact profits.


  4. Combined Storm Overflows (CSO) are a much more complex problem for England than Scotland because of populations densities, slack meandering rivers and canals, old sewer infrastructure designed for lower populations, but crucially changing rainfall patterns which more frequently trigger the CSOs.
    England’s disastrous private water industry seeking profits while government played pass the parcel with the inherited problem was never going to end happily. In truth England will never achieve the 75% target (doubtless flourished by an imbecilic politician), they’ll be lucky to retain the 14%.
    Considerable work was carried out on the larger CSOs in Scotland to retain the visual aspect (screenings) so pollution is less obvious, but with smaller populations and greater dilution the pollution is lower.
    In England they’d rather invest in a giant trainset to Brum…

    Liked by 1 person

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