Water firms top green expenditure survey

Companies spent £3.4 billion in 2005 on environmental protection, according to the annual survey by consultants URS for the Environment Department (DEFRA).

Spending was highest in the utilities sector with a 23% share, up from 9% the previous year, driven mostly by water companies (ENDS Report 378, p 18 ). The chemicals and food sectors followed with 15% and 11% respectively.

Some 40% of expenditure went on treating wastewater and 17% on abating air pollution. Three quarters of spending was on operating costs and the rest on capital investment.

The survey provides little insight into what is driving expenditure beyond tighter regulatory requirements of integrated pollution prevention and control and EU water Directives. The increase in water industry spending may have been to complete obligations under the 2000-2005 asset management plan.

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