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Latest 18 April 2023

Exclusive YouGov Poll: Nearly two-thirds believe water company bosses should face prison over serious incidents of pollution

Thomas Smith / Alamy

Most people believe that jail sentences are a fitting punishment for water bosses when their companies are responsible for major pollution spills in our rivers, waterways and shores. The strength of public feeling is revealed by an exclusive YouGov poll commissioned by Good Law Project.

The polling of 2,112 people across Great Britain has revealed that:

  • 60% of respondents believe that the chief executives of water companies should receive prison sentences if they are found to be responsible for serious incidents of water pollution. Only 21% disagree.
  • 82% have heard something about sewage discharges from media coverage about the issue.
  • 53% blame the water companies for sewage discharges into our rivers and seas.

You can read the data in full here. Significantly, this is the first time that YouGov has put this set of questions to the public.

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So what do these results tell us? Quite simply, they show just how much the public knows and cares about the filthy state of our rivers and seas – with fingers firmly pointing at the private water companies and their chief executives who have become very rich at the expense of the environment and bill payers for decades.

People have had enough. This disgraceful situation needs to be brought to an end urgently. This is why we are stepping in and supporting a number of legal challenges to protect our waters for generations to come. You can read about these here.

But we can only do this vital work with your help. If you are interested in supporting us, you can do so here.