Water polluting companies spend £9m on bosses
Water polluting companies dump £9m on bosses
- Severn Trent, United Utilities and Pennon Group presented the awards
- Companies have paid more than £50million to their chief executives since 2015
- Water companies dumped waste more than 400,000 times in 2020
Three of Britain’s biggest water companies have paid their bosses nearly £9million in the last financial year, despite criticism over sewage pollution and executive bonuses.
Severn Trent, United Utilities and Pennon Group handed out the rewards as households face a squeeze in the cost of living from soaring inflation and soaring energy bills. Company documents show the companies have paid more than £50million to their chief executives since 2015.
The dumping of raw sewage into UK waterways has sparked widespread public fury. Water companies in England dumped waste into rivers more than 400,000 times in 2020, according to a damning Environment Agency report published last year.
He found that, throughout the year, companies discharged untreated sewage for more than three million hours.
Activist and former rock star Feargal Sharkey described the financial rewards for bosses as “unwarranted, unwarranted and just reinforcing the idea that it pays to pollute”.
Sharkey, who is chairman of England’s oldest angling club, Amwell Magna Fishery in Hertfordshire, added: “At a time when everyone has been in a hurry, it is an obscenity and an insult that these gross and exaggerated bonuses are funded directly from the bill payers’ money.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said in May that high earners should “think and think” before chasing big rewards.
Last month, shares of Severn Trent, United Utilities and Pennon all fell after regulator Ofwat launched an investigation into Pennon’s South West Water.
This was the latest sewage-related investigation announced by Ofwat, which had already taken action against Anglian Water, Northumbrian Water, Thames Water, Wessex Water and Yorkshire Water.
Ofwat boss David Black has strongly criticized Britain’s privatized water companies, most of which face legal action. Last week he said: ‘The scale of the problem is shocking. Black thinks water companies should tie executive compensation to performance metrics, including wastewater pollution.
Companies are legally required to treat sewage before it is pumped into rivers, but raw waste discharges are allowed after heavy rains.
The Mail on Sunday revealed last month that Severn Trent chief Liv Garfield received £3.9million in the company’s last financial year, a massive £830,000 increase on the previous year. ‘last year. A few months earlier, the Midlands-based water supplier was attacked for raising its bills by an average of 7.1%.
Our analysis reveals that Garfield was the highest paid of the three water bosses.
It can also be revealed today that United Utilities boss Steve Mogford has raked in £3.2million in the last financial year. Perks and bonuses worth £2.5 million made up the majority. The total almost matched the £3.3million he had received a year earlier.
Pennon’s Susan Davy was paid £1.6million after taking the job in July 2020. Her annual salary rose by more than 4% to £475,000.
Garfield and Mogford have each earned a total of £21million over the past seven years.
The executive director of the High Pay Centre, Luke Hildyard, said the salary of a chief executive of a water company should not be much higher than that of a senior civil servant because it is “essentially a a public service”.
He added: “These are important roles, but they require skilled managers – not entrepreneurs.”
United Utilities said in May it was helping 200,000 “struggling” households and expected no increase in average water bills in the coming financial year.
Pennon said in May that South West Water’s bills were lower “in real terms” than a decade ago.
Severn Trent has been hit with environmental fines totaling £3.4million since 2020. Last December it was fined £1.5million for illegally dumping 80,000 gallons of sewage .
Earlier the MoS revealed that Thames Water, Yorkshire Water and Southern Water paid no corporation tax in 2021.
All three companies declined to comment.