United Utilities warns bills will rise to fund scheme tackling pollution and sewage-dumping

  • Video report by ITV Granada journalist Tim Scott

United Utilities have warned that customer's bills will increase to help tackle sewage-dumping and pollution in the region's waterways.

The water provider announced its new five-year plan on Monday 2 October to improve the cleanliness of the North-West's rivers and seas.

The company say the £13.7 billion project, which begins in 2025, will provide more jobs and boost the regions economy.

However, United Utilities have warned that bills will rise in order to help fund the scheme.

Chris Matthews, Head of Regional Engagement at United Utilities said: “We are really pleased to be publishing a really ambitious plan for the North West.

“Some £13.7 billion worth of investment will be used to transform the North West water environment, deliver better service levels to customers and support the region’s economy.”

The water company have said that they will be spending £3.1 billion to reduce spills from overflows by 60%.

United Utilities promises the investment will be the biggest they have ever announced. Credit: ITV News

They are also going to allocating half a billion pounds to support customers who are struggling to pay their bills and creating around 30,000 jobs across the region.

Mr Matthews continued: “It does mean that bills are going to have to go up, but we have been working really hard to keep that increase to a minimum and that’s why today, we have announced some half a billion pounds worth of support for families across the North West.

“We are going to be helping 1 in 6 households to pay those bills, so we are making sure that we are looking after those who can least afford it.”

The scheme aims to provide 30,000 jobs across the North West. Credit: ITV News

United Utilities say the investment is being used "to meet new environmental targets" from its regulators.

"We've spoken to 95,000 customers across the region and we feel that our plan reflects their priorities.

"Our plan is an investment to meet what our stakeholders and customers in the region are telling us really matters to them."

United Utilities headquarters in Warrington. Credit: ITV News

He added: "We are committed to make that change happen and that's why we are investing in it."

"It's going to take us quite some time to reduce spills. The plan to reduce spills to an average of 10 spills per overflow per year, will actually take us out to 2050 and this is the first step to getting to that point."

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