Anglian Water wants to create an army of river watchers to report pollution


Anglian Water is calling all nature lovers, environmentalists, anglers, dog walkers, birdwatchers, kayakers and canal-walkers to come together and create a battalion of river guardians as part of its ‘Pollution Watch’ campaign.

The water company is stepping up its own Pollution Watch activity and is asking the public to join the company in protecting and preserving the environment across the East of England.

CEO for Anglian Water, Peter Simpson, commented on the announcement: “We have a clear-cut duty to each of our millions of customers to safeguard – and indeed to enhance – our environment.

“One of the most important contributions we can make is to ensure that our activity does not contribute to environmental pollution.

“Caring for our environment is fundamental to the way we operate at Anglian, so much so that our commitment to protect it is woven into the fabric of how we operate as a company.

“In 2019 we became the first major utility to change our Articles of Association to enshrine public interest for the long term.

“We are wholeheartedly committed to reaching zero pollutions.

“Customer expectations in this area are rightly high and we must rise to meet them.”

The Pollution Watch initiative is one element of Anglian’s recently published ‘Pollution Incident Reduction Plan’.

In it, the company outlines the approach it is taking to tackling pollution incidents across the region, accepting the role it plays as one of the largest water recycling companies in the country.

The plan also calls on local community groups such as anglers, boaters and dog walkers for support, as well as signposting its Beachcare and Rivercare networks, all of whom will be invited to support Pollution Watch.

This latest drive will raise awareness of the action people should take if they see something untoward in their local watercourse.

The aim of the campaign is to enable Anglian Water to act fast should the worst happen, or better still, prevent the impact of pollution in the first place.

The water company has a programme of work to prevent spills like these, including regular checking of pumps and pipes, ongoing repairs and maintenance, encouraging people to not flush these things in the first place, and removing any illegal connections that have been made to the sewer network when they are found.

Head of Environmental Quality for Anglian Water, Dr Lucinda Gilfoyle, added: “River pollutions most commonly occur when our pipes become blocked with unflushable items such as fats, wipes, cotton buds or sanitary items – all things that shouldn’t be in the sewer in first place.

“Blockages mean sewage can’t make its way through the network as normal.

“This means used water, including sewage, may escape and cause flooding or pollution.

“While we monitor our network closely and often carry out preventative cleaning and maintenance to try and prevent these blockages, we can’t always stop them happening.

“Where we are responsible we aim to take immediate action, carry out a full clean up, plus investigate to prevent events re-occurring.

“Where we’re not responsible, we aim to help get to the bottom of the problem so appropriate action can be taken, too.”