The Chief Executive of the United Kingdom’s worst polluting water company, United Utilities, Steve Mogford reportedly made only £1.4 million from the sale of shares in the business before his retirement.
After the revelation of Mogford’s earnings post-retirement on March 31, politicians demanded that water companies be taxed to the extent that they cannot pay enormous sums to the Chief Executive Officers.
United Utilities was the most polluting water provider in England last year, according to the Environment Agency data. In 2022, sewage from one of the company’s pipes leaked into the River Ellen near the Lake District for approximately 7,000 hours.
The agency data revealed that 10 out of the country’s 20 pipes that spilled the most sewage in 2022 and provide water to the northwest and Lake District are owned by the company.
Speaking on the sewage scandals and water companies getting an easy leeway, Liberal Democrats’ environment spokesperson, Tim Farron, said, “As the sewage scandal runs on, top chiefs at water companies are racking up millions of pounds in bonuses. This is a disgrace. Water companies shouldn’t be allowed to get away with pumping thousands of hours of filthy sewage into our rivers and waterways. We need the Conservatives to stop sitting on their hands, tax water companies, and end this scandal.”
Notably, the United Kingdom is the only country in the world to fully privatize the national water supply. Some experts say that this privatization gave way to a monopoly in the business.
“Privatisation gave monopoly powers to the water companies with no conspicuous accountability and little commercial incentive to do anything but collect bill payments. People have no choice but to give them their money in exchange for performance that is, frankly, well below bog standard,” political campaigner for Greenpeace UK, Megan Corton Scott, said emphatically.
Scott also noted that allowing water companies to assess their own homework doesn’t work. She warned that the government must either understand that reform is needed and give regulators the funding and legal powers, or the industry will continue to remain in a dire situation.
Reports by the Guardian reveal that water company owners minted enormous money from salaries and bonuses in recent years despite the massive sewage scandals. For instance, in 2022, the owner of Anglian Water, which also apparently had one of the worst pollution records in England, was paid more than £1 million in payments and bonuses.
Data also revealed that the owners of such companies made humongous profits from failures, whilst the villages, towns, and cities across the country have been treated as open sewers. One such example is the owner of Thames Water. Despite being fired from Thames Water for leaks and fines while in charge, the former boss of the company has received £2.8 million after leaving the organization.
However, Labour has put forth a water quality bill that has the potential to clean up the water industry permanently. The new legislation would monitor the companies, and their bosses, and put an end to scandals by 2030.