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Country News - 2004

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Conservationists welcome water reforms

Wednesday 11 August 2004

CONSERVATIONISTS have welcomed last week's decision by the Government's water purity watchdog, Ofwat, to allow water supply companies to increase their prices next year only if they invest more heavily in anti-pollution measures.

Alarms rang out ten days ago when a sudden summer storm flooded sewerage plants in London, sending millions of tons of untreated waste into the River Thames. Tens of thousands of fish were killed.

With such summer storms becoming common throughout the UK, Ofwatch fears there could be similar incidents in other towns and cities and has linked water price increases to new investment to prevent such tragedies.

This decision was applauded by environmentalists, who say it will help restore wild populations of water birds and mammals such as otters and water voles - Rattie in the Wind in the Willows.

Graham Wynne, Chief Executive of the RSPB said: "Sewage pollution and the draining of water by water companies from some of our most precious wildlife sites are a major contributory factor to the poor condition of hundreds of rivers and wetland areas.

"This environmental programme will cost the average household just four pence per week and if it goes ahead, recreational opportunities will increase and rural economies will be boosted, in addition to the relief and encouragement given to wildlife."


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