EA chair hints that budget cuts hinder action on pollution

Emma Howard Boyd, the chair of the Environment Agency (EA), has defended her organisation’s performance and blamed an increase in serious water pollution incidents on funding cuts.

Writing in the Times yesterday, Boyd said the newspaper’s leader on Saturday suggested that the EA was failing to tackle pollution by water and sewerage companies.

This followed on from EA figures published last week, which revealed serious pollution incidents were up 27% last year, compared to 2017.

However, Boyd said that over the past several years serious pollution incidents have been falling, “largely because of our regulation”. 

“Last year was an unacceptable exception to this trend, so we have increased our inspections and auditing of companies’ environmental performance,” she said.

Howard Boyd noted that the grant that the EA receives to protect the environment has been reduced from £120m in 2010 to £52m today, amounting to a cut of 57%. 

“This includes the grant-in-aid that we need to run our pollution incident response and investigations,” she wrote. 

She added that EA staff “do an excellent job with the money available, but it is up to the government and industry to step up to the plate”.

Related ENDS Compliance Content

  • Water Industry Act 1991 (As amended)

    Water Industry Act 1991 (As amended)

    In force/
    England, UK
    17 May 2012


    15/05/2014 Amending Water Act 2014 published.
    03/04/2017 Amending Order (SI 2017/506) published.

    Compliance Dates

    01/12/1991 Comes into force o





    OPSI (Office of Public Sector Information)

    Affected Sectors

    Cross-sector Water

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