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Hadleigh Water Recycling Centre completes £3.4m upgrade to improve quality of River Brett

A water company’s multi-million pound project to enhance water quality around Hadleigh has been completed, amid criticisms of the firm’s environmental performance over the last year.

Anglian Water confirmed that work to upgrade Hadleigh’s Water Recycling Centre (WRC) has finished, after announcing a £3.4m investment into the facility in April.

The engineering scheme focused on installing new equipment that rids wastewater of phosphorous – a substance commonly used in soaps and cleaning products, which can be harmful to wildlife if it reaches water.

Anglia Water recently completed a £3.4million programme of improvements to its Water Recycling Centre (WRC) at the River Brett in Hadleigh. Picture: Contributed.
Anglia Water recently completed a £3.4million programme of improvements to its Water Recycling Centre (WRC) at the River Brett in Hadleigh. Picture: Contributed.

In doing so, the enhancements seek to ensure that water entering the River Brett is significantly cleaner, thereby protecting wildlife and improving the quality of the river and downstream watercourses.

It comes after the Environment Agency told Anglian Water that it must improve, following an annual report into the environmental performance of England’s nine water companies.

The report gave Anglian Water two stars out of a possible four for the second consecutive year, citing its responsibility for 255 pollution incidents in 2022, and its poor record of self-reporting these incidents.

Graham Verrier, the Environment Agency’s area director for East Anglia, said: “We are disappointed that Anglian Water is a two-star company for the second year in a row.

“Where there is evidence of non-compliance, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action, as is evidenced by the conclusion of nine prosecutions against Anglian Water in the last 14 months.”

Last week, the Government published details of a new law, enabling it to impose unlimited civil sanctions on water firms for environmental offences.

This includes the removal of the cap on penalties, as well as an increase in its scope to target a broader range of infractions.

Water Minister Rebecca Pow said: “The government’s Plan for Water is focused on more investment, tougher enforcement and tighter regulation.

“I am personally committed to driving that forward and demanding more from each and every water company.

“We have also put new regulatory powers in place to allow the Environment Agency to impose sanctions on water companies without always going through the courts.

“This will be an important tool in its armoury to hold companies to account.”

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, who visited Hadleigh WRC earlier this month, praised the efforts in improving water quality in the area.

“It was really interesting to visit Hadleigh Water Recycling Centre to see first-hand the steps that Anglia Water are taking to better protect our local water quality,” he added.

“There has been a lot of press coverage of water companies in recent weeks, justifiably so, but we shouldn’t ignore the positive news that is happening, especially on our doorstep.

“Both nationally and locally, we need to keep investing, and driving infrastructure improvements, if we are to protect our great waterways and ease peoples’ understandable concerns.”