Firms who pollute the environment will be hit with unlimited financial penalties from the Environment Agency, the government has announced.
The previous £250,000 cap on penalties has been scrapped and the range of offences they cover has been expanded.
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay insisted that polluters will pay if they harm ‘precious habitats’.
Offences that can be punished include breach of permit conditions from sites that discharge into rivers and seas, e.g. from sewage treatment works and permitted storm overflows.
Also, Illegal discharges to water where there is no permit, such as in the event of agricultural pollution from slurry stores.
Ben Seal, British Canoeing's Head of Access and Environment, said:
“This is another step in the right direction. For too long it has been cheaper and easier for polluters to simply degrade our waterways and not worry about the penalty.
“We welcome Steve Barclay taking this decisive action to introduce unlimited fines.
“This deterrent requires the EA to have the resources it needs to fully enforce regulations and ensure nobody slips through the net.
“It is also positive to hear money from penalties will be directed towards restoring our rivers.
“Let's hope the fund will support measures that protect nature and people.”