Responding to the Panorama report on river pollution, a Water UK spokesperson said:
“Water companies are passionate about their role as custodians of our natural world, and are investing £5 billion on environmental improvements including £1.1bn on improvements to storm overflows. This includes more monitoring of overflows, investment in wastewater treatment works and using natural alternatives and the latest technology to keep sewage out of rivers and take pressure off wastewater networks.
“Water companies have an important role but we need others to play their part. This is a complex issue and the pollution that harms our rivers comes from a wide range of sources– including from agriculture, mining, roads and heavy industry. Collaboration is vital and is already underway through initiatives such as the Government’s Storm Overflows Taskforce which aims to find a long-term solution to the use of overflows.
“As the programme made clear, water companies face a huge challenge dealing with wet wipes and other items being flushed down toilets. Water UK research shows around 40% of pollution incidents may be the result of some kind of blockage in the sewer, and we know that wet wipes are a leading cause of that. Everyone plays a role in improving the health of our rivers and bringing about the long-term change we all want to see.”