Anglian Water Services Ltd has been found guilty of failing, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a requirement to provide records from the Environment Agency.

The water company was convicted with the case adjourned to July 5, 2024, for a sentencing hearing to take place at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court.

The case was brought by the Environment Agency against Anglian Water Services Ltd, which arose out of a wider criminal investigation involving all ten water companies into potential non-compliance with environmental permit conditions at over 2,000 wastewater treatment works.

Since launching the investigation, the Environment Agency has served several statutory requirements for records on the company.

Anglian Water Services Ltd has been convicted of failing, without reasonable excuse, to respond to one of these notices, served under Section 108 of the Environment Act 1995, contrary to Section 110(2)(a) of the Environment Act 1995 between dates in January 2022 and January 2023.

Anglian Water Services Ltd had entered a not guilty plea to the charge, claiming that it had a reasonable excuse for non-compliance.

However, having heard the evidence in the case, District Judge Kenneth Sheraton rejected that claim.

Anglian Water supplies more than six million domestic and business customers in the east of England and Hartlepool.

Anglian Water

Anglian Water was found not guilty on two other counts relating to failing to provide data to the Environment Agency.

The judge commented that the Environment Agency had acted unreasonably in failing to respond to correspondence from Anglian Water in which it set out its proposed methodology.

An Anglian Water spokesperson said:

“We’re pleased the judge has said our course of action and time taken to respond with surrogate data to the Environment Agency was reasonable. These were the two most serious allegations for obstruction.

“On the third count, we have received the judge’s draft sentencing remarks and will now take the opportunity to review the basis of sentence.”

Last year, the company was prosecuted after it failed to prevent discharges into the sea of what was described as the “equivalent to three Olympic swimming pools of waste water in a month”.

It was fined a record amount for environmental offences in the East of England region after untreated sewage entered the North Sea.

The water company pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court and was fined £2.65 million following a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency.

It was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of over £16,000 and a victim surcharge of£170.

However, following an appeal hearing in February of this year regarding the incident at Jaywick, the fine was reduced from £2.65 million to £300,000, with the judge ruling that there was no harm caused to the environment.

The Environment Agency said a “catalogue of failures” by the company to manage and monitor effluent at the Jaywick Water Recycling Centre in Essex resulted in sewage being discharged into the sea.