The Environment Agency is not abandoning its primary monitoring and enforcement role. (It is desperate: how Environment Agency employees were silenced as pollution increased, 29 January). We monitor the river state ourselves and now require water companies and other entities to do the same. We monitor the country’s coast bathing waters. Thanks to the EAs strong regulatory work, they are in the best possible state. In 2021, 99% of them met the minimum standards. This is the highest result since 2015, when we introduced stricter standards. We enforce the law with vigor against those who break it, as Southern Water discovered last year when it was hit with a record 90m penalty in a case we brought. We respond to hundreds environmental incidents each year. We received more than 76,000 reports last year. This includes flood, drought, fires and pollution incidents.
Our amazing staff make the world a better place every day. We improved water quality in more than 4,500km of our rivers last year by fighting pollution, unsustainable abstraction, and invasive species; we also reduced emissions and cut illegal waste sites; and we completed our most recent flood defence building program, which better protected over 300,000.
Like all the public sector, our budgets are tight and we must prioritize what is important to us. But we will always do our best for the people and places served by the money that we have.
Emma Howard Boyd
Chair, Environment Agency