UK Environment Act 2021

What is the Environment Act 2021?

The Environment Act became law in England in November 2021. The legislation aims to improve air and water quality, tackle waste, increase recycling, halt species decline, and improve our natural environment.

Part 5, Section 82 of the Act, states that all English water utilities are to continuously monitor water quality upstream and downstream of all sewage storm overflows and sewage treatment works, which discharge into a watercourse.

Monitoring the quality of water potentially affected by discharges

Part 5, Section 82

“A sewage undertaker whose area is wholly or mainly in England must continuously monitor the quality of the water upstream and downstream of an asset within subsection (2) for the purpose of obtaining the referred to in subsection (3)"

The Act requires water quality monitoring of the following parameters: Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature, pH, Turbidity, Ammonia and anything else specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State.

The aim of this Act is to reduce the number of sewage-related spills in England’s rivers, lakes, and coastal areas, and to improve overall water quality in river catchments. 

Learn more about monitoring the impacts of storm overflows in this Application Note:

What are the Long-Term Goals of the Environment Act 2021?

The Environment Act 2021 includes targets to monitor at least 40% of all assets (i.e., sewage works and overflow discharge locations), which are not exempt, by the end of 2030. This includes all assets defined as high-priority sites, which include:

  • Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)
  • Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
  • Urban Wastewater Treatment Regulation sensitive areas
  • Chalk streams
  • Any assets within 5km upstream of designated inland or estuarine bathing waters &
  • Waters currently failing Water Framework Directive ecological standards due to storm overflows or final effluent.

In regards to the number of overflow spills:

  • By 2035, water companies will have to improve/reduce ALL storm overflows discharging into or near every designated bathing water, and improve/reduce 75% of overflows discharging to high-priority nature sites
  • By 2050, this will apply to all remaining storm overflows covered by Government DEFRA’S targets, regardless of location

Environment Act 2021 - How to Overcome Data Uncertainty in Water Quality Monitoring

Reliable data is essential to guarantee the protection of our rivers, streams, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters. The Environment Act 2021 has changed regulations in the United Kingdom, creating new standards for water quality monitoring as well as some confusion around the challenges of collecting continuous data and – more importantly – collecting data you can trust.

In this on-demand webinar, our experts share three case studies highlighting best practices to help ensure data integrity.

Water Quality Sensors

Learn more about these common water quality parameters, including why it is important to monitor each parameter, how monitoring technologies have evolved, and the underlying principles of how sensors work. We also cover real-world examples to describe how each sensor type operates in practice.

View the entire webinar series:

How Alge Sensors Work How Turbidity Sensors Work How Conductivity Sensors Work How pH & ORP Sensors Work How DO Sensors Work

Need More Assistance?

Schedule a Free Virtual Consultation!