Carolyn Roberts, a former Oxford university professor and environmental consultant, has filed a class action lawsuit against Severn Trent water company in the Competition Appeal Tribunal for under-reporting sewage spills and overcharging customers.
Roberts and Leigh Day are expected to file similar suits against other large water companies.
This is the first class action to be brought against a water (or any utility) group and it will be interesting to see if the tribunal will allow the class action to proceed and if it does, if any individual customers choose to opt out of the litigation and what level of compensation is awarded (if any).
I have swum in many UK Rivers (including the famous Dart 10k held in the River Dart in Devon) and often in the sea near London. I always check to see if there have been (legal) sewage discharges before I swim and it is disappointingly often that I have to cancel swims for fear of swimming through human waste... In the swimming community anger is mounting about the amount of raw sewage being released into our rivers and coastal waters.
I am watching with interest this case, the investigations of the Environmental Agency and the campaigns currently running to see what can be done to clean up our rivers and seas.
“Millions of consumers have been paying their water bills on the basis that water companies are meeting their targets, but instead every year water companies let raw or only partially treated sewage into the environment in breach of the rules.” Carolyn Roberts