The MP for Penrith and the Border has welcomed an announcement from the environment secretary that water bosses are set to have their bonuses banned if a company has committed serious criminal pollution. 

Environment Agency data shows that six out of the ten longest sewage discharges in 2022 England happened in Cumbria.

6896 hours of sewage discharge was recorded at Plumbland wastewater treatment works and more than 5000 hours were recorded at Kirk Bampton. 

Figures also show that raw sewage was released into open water in Carlisle more than 1,500 times in 2022.

Storm overflows normally happen when the sewage system is at risk of being overwhelmed – such as after a heavy rain, or during higher levels of groundwater.

In these cases, water companies may need to release excess water and sewage into rivers and the sea, to prevent water backing up into the streets and people's homes.

This has an impact on the quality of our natural water sources, with some charities alleging storm overflows are being misused and under-reported.

Figures from the Environment Agency show storm overflows were used 1,681 times within Carlisle's local authority boundaries in 2022, discharging for a total of around 7,968 hours.

Dr Neil Hudson MP wrote to Ofwat last year, urging the regulator to link water company boss dividends to the companies performance for customers and the environment. 

Ofwat will now take forward a consultation to define the criteria of the ban. It would apply to all executive board members and Chief Executives and is expected to come into force later this year. 

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The measures form part of the government’s plan to tackle pollution and clean up British waters which has been criticised by opposition parties. 

Dr Neil Hudson MP said: "Last year alone £2.5 million was freely given to 10 water bosses in bonuses despite widespread pollution.

"This is not acceptable - I know this, the public knows it and so does our Environment Secretary who is absolutely right to take action."