The Environment Agency's (EA's) Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) - Since 2012 the EA have 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 have targeted maintaining our industry leading position throughout AMP6, which would require meeting six of the following seven parameters: having fewer than or equal to 86 cat 3 pollution incidents per 10,000km of sewers; having fewer than or equal to 1 cat 1 or 2 pollution incidents per 10,000km of sewers; 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 and achieving 100% on the Security of supply index.
For 2018-19, the Environment Agency has suspended 'sludge disposal compliance' as a parameter within this measure. However, we continue to maintain full compliance and internal reporting.
This measure has the potential for a customer refund; if our performance drops to 'requires improvement' (previously '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 cat 3 pollution incident less than 67.
In 2018-19 we achieved a 'good' rating in the Environment Agency's Environmental Performance Assessment by meeting four of the six parameters. We had more than one category 1 or category 2 pollution and narrowly missed our self-reporting target, achieving 74% against a target of 75%. We are confident that we will achieve 'leading' status in 2019-20. However, some of the performance criteria, particularly relating to pollutions, are outside our direct control (e.g. sewer blockages due to wet-wipes, unauthorised discharge to sewer affecting STW compliance), and so, despite our best endeavours, this 'leading' rating cannot be guaranteed.