MEL Stride MP has welcomed the Environment Secretary’s announcement that up to £11 million in water company fines will be reinvested back into a new Water Restoration Fund (WRF).

Under the WRF, all water company environmental penalties since April 2022 have been ringfenced to directly improve the water environment.

The WRF will offer grant funding on a competitive basis to support local groups, farmers and landowners and community-led schemes, bolstering their capacity for on-the-ground projects to improve the water environment.

This includes activities that improve biodiversity and community access to blue and green spaces in areas where water companies have been issued with fines or penalties.

The £11 million in fines will be allocated for water improvements in the water company areas to which they relate. These penalties and fines are additional to any reparations that water companies make when they have breached environmental regulations.

Mr Stride’s constituency is eligible for a share of the South West Water pot, creating the potential for up to £2,150,000 of investment in the area.

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) will keep pushing water companies to go further, and recently announced an additional £180 million of investment to improve the maintenance of the sewer network, on top of existing commitments to address the unacceptable performance.

Mr Stride, said: “I am pleased to see the Government not only taking tough action to ensure regulators are well-equipped to hold those who pollute to account, but also investing the money collected through penalties back into the local communities that have been impacted by sewage.”