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Polluters' fines can restore waterways, suggest Tory MPs

At least 44 Tory MPs have called on the Government to invest fines from polluting water companies into restoring the nation's sewage-filled rivers.

The policy would see all money raised from fines handed out by the Environment Agency (EA) being allocated to a new government fund or given to a third party.

A manifesto unveiled by the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) suggested the money could be given to a body like the National Lottery Heritage to provide communities, organisations, and farmers with grants to restore their local waterways.

Philip Dunne MP, who chairs the Environmental Audit Committee, said: "It is time to bring the ‘polluter pays’ principle into practice to tackle the pollution of our rivers.

“Not only should fines for water firms which illegally pollute be increased, but we should also ensure the money raised is invested back into fixing the source of the pollution.

“Creating a River Restoration Fund with these fines could help pay for local initiatives to tackle pollution in the catchment and ensure our rivers are clean, thriving places for nature and recreation.”

CEN said more than £140 million could have been invested into local initiatives since 2017 if the government reserved the money raised by fines imposed by the EA.

The 44 Conservative MPs urged the Government to introduce a clear labelling system to stop people from flushing items like wet wipes, sanitary products and nappies that contribute to 300,000 sewer blockages a year.


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