DWF logo

Search

DWF logo

            Southern Water - £126 million Ofwat Penalty but Environment Agency Prosecution Pending

            Following a two year investigation by Ofwat, Southern Water has been ordered to pay a penalty of £3 million and has undertaken to return another £123 million to customers over the next five years. The investigation looked at the performance of Southern Water's wastewater treatment sites and the company’s reporting of relevant compliance information to the regulator.

             

            Date: 03/07/2019

            Ofwat concluded that Southern Water failed to operate a number of wastewater treatments works properly, in some cases by not making the necessary investment which led to equipment failures and spills of wastewater into the environment. Southern Water was also found to have manipulated its wastewater sampling process which resulted in it misreporting information about the performance of a number of sewage treatment sites.

            The proposed penalties are subject to consultation until 19 July 2019 and but this is unlikely to be the end of the matter. The Environment Agency has confirmed that it is conducting a separate  criminal investigation and expects to commence court proceedings soon. If convicted, Southern Water is likely to face another large fine in the criminal courts. Since the introduction of Sentencing Guidelines in 2014, fines for breaching environmental legislation have risen significantly. Although the Guidelines set a range of between £100 and £3 million for fines, they also provide for greater fines for companies whose annual turnover greatly exceeds £50 million. Thames Water Utilities Ltd was fined an unprecedented £20 million in 2017 for a series of pollution incidents involving the River Thames.

            The Southern Water case demonstrates yet again the increasingly robust approach to penalties taken by both regulators and the criminal courts aimed at ensuring the message is brought home to directors and shareholders.

             

            We use cookies to give you the best user experience on our website. Please let us know if you accept our use of cookies.

            Manage cookies

            Your Privacy

            When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. We mainly use this information to ensure the site works as you expect it to, and to learn how we can improve the experience in the future. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
            Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change permissions. However, blocking some types of cookies may prevent certain site functionality from working as expected

            Functional cookies

            (Required)

            These cookies let you use the website and are required for the website to function as expected.

            These cookies are required

            Tracking cookies

            Anonymous cookies that help us understand the performance of our website and how we can improve the website experience for our users. Some of these may be set by third parties we trust, such as Google Analytics.

            They may also be used to personalise your experience on our website by remembering your preferences and settings.

            Marketing cookies

            These cookies are used to improve and personalise your experience with our brands. We may use these cookies to show adverts for our products, or measure the performance of our adverts.