Illegal sewage discharge in English rivers 10 times higher than official data suggests

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Underreporting by water companies and failure to hold them to account have resulted in ecological damage, analysis shows

Water companies are being allowed to unlawfully discharge raw sewage into rivers at a scale at least 10 times greater than Environment Agency prosecutions indicate, according to analysis to be presented to the government.

The number of prosecutions of English water companies for unlawful spills from sewage treatment plants in 10 years are just a tiny fraction of the scale of potentially illegal discharges, the research presented to the environment minister, Rebecca Pow, this week will suggest.

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