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Environment Agency to help water companies cut carbon emissions

The Environment Agency has published ‘Transforming wastewater treatment to reduce carbon emissions’, a science and policy report that aims to show how water companies can reduce carbon emissions while continuing to improve water quality.

The report is based on research designed to explain the challenges of carbon reduction in the water industry, develop the evidence, and help inform future policy and regulation.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the water industry have risen in recent years, largely as a result of additional drinking water and wastewater treatment required to meet increasingly stringent environmental and quality standards.

But, the report argues, in a carbon-constrained world, new legislation and regulations must take account of the impact on emissions. This includes the Water Framework Directive.

The new report lists measures the water industry is taking and will need to continue. It also anticipates action by the government and other authorities, such as the EA itself, in bringing forward measures, such as control of pollution at source by a range of other sectors, to deliver WFD outcomes in the most sustainable way.

Water UK, which represents the interests of water companies, said the industry will continue to seek improvements in energy and operational efficiency. In 2008/09 it increased renewable energy generation by 40%

“The industry is working hard to deliver the higher environmental and water quality standards required by the WFD, without adding to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions. The report shows that this can be done, but depends on barriers being removed and other sectors and organisations playing their part,” said Water UK head of climate change Bruce Horton.

“Achieving high water quality and low emissions simultaneously will not be easy. We are committed to working with the Environment Agency and other partners to meet the challenge through the strategies outlined in the report.”

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