Surfers against Sewage claim environmental plans are being shelved

According to Chris Hines, director of environmental group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), the director of Water Services has dropped 61 water and wastewater improvement schemes that were promised earlier this year.

Hines has appealed to the deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, in an attempt to ensure that these schemes are not ignored: “We ask that you ensure that the full programme of environmental obligations agreed by yourself in March 1999 are carried out. This includes the 61 schemes that Mr Byatt apparently no longer sees the need for. Mr Byatt is also suggesting that only 10% of the National Environment Programme will be carried out in the first two years of Asset Managemetn Programme 3 (2000-2005). This is simply unacceptable and will leave the Labour government in a position where very little progress will have been made in improving the aquatic environment.”

Geoff Mance, water management director at the Environment Agency (EA), confirmed that Ian Byatt’s price cuts would not be accepted as an excuse for failures to meet new pollution standards. He said: “The fact that Ian Byatt has omitted some environmental improvement schemes from his draft pricing limits for water companies will not stop the EA from pressing ahead with the National Environment Programme that has been endorsed by ministers.” The government has pledged to spend £8Bn on environmental improvements, a large proportion of which the water companies have been charged with achieving.

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