EA’s environmental performance assessment
The Environment Agency's Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) - Since 2012, the EA has published a composite measure of environmental performance, including pollution incidents (classified in categories 1 (being the most severe) through to 3), discharge permit compliance, sludge disposal compliance, pollutions self-reported and NEP outputs delivered. They classify each water company as 'leading' (previously 'industry leading'), 'good' (previously 'above average'), 'requires improvement' (previously 'below average') or 'poor'.
We targeted maintaining a leading position throughout AMP6, which would require meeting six of the following seven parameters:
- having fewer than or equal to 86 category 3 pollution incidents per 10,000km of sewer
- having fewer than or equal to one category 1 or two pollution incidents per 10,000km of sewer
- achieving more than 99% STW discharge compliance
- achieving 100% sludge disposal compliance
- self-reporting more than 75% of pollution incidents
- achieving 100% of NEP outputs
- achieving 100% on the security of supply index
For 2019-20, the Environment Agency has suspended 'sludge disposal compliance' as a parameter within this measure. However, we continued to maintain full compliance and internal reporting.
This measure has the potential for a customer refund; if our performance drops to requires improvement (below average) we would refund customers £5.9m. There is also the potential for incentive payments if we perform well on the pollutions indicator; if in any year we achieve zero category 1 and 2 pollutions we can receive an incentive payment of £190k for each category 3 pollution incident less than 67.
In 2019-20 we believe we have achieved a 'leading' rating by meeting five of the six parameters. Confirmation from the EA is not due until July 2020.
We had one category 1 pollution in 2019 compared to four in 2018 (this is being reviewed by the Environment Agency as it was due to a third party discharge into our network). Self-reporting increased from 75% in 2018 to 84% in 2019 and total sewerage pollutions reduced from 82 to 76.
However, discharge permit compliance has reduced from 100% to 98.5% due to failures at five sites.
Over the AMP we have received a classification of 'leading' for four out of the five years, with 'good' in 2018-19.