DOZENS of water pollution incidents were recorded in Southend between 2018 and 2022, new figures show.

Figures obtained by the Radar news agency through a freedom of information request show 42 water pollution incidents were recorded by the Environment Agency in Southend between 2018 and 2022 – including eight last year.

These figures cover the first three levels of severity, with the area seeing two “major” or “significant” incidents over the same timeframe, the last coming in 2021.

The water industry has come under particular scrutiny over how they record pollution events.

In Southend, 15 cases were assessed as coming from a water company in the past five years – with two in the most serious categories.

Water pollution can also come from other sources, such as agricultural run-off or industry and manufacturing.

The Rivers Trust, a charity working to protect waterways in the UK, said; “People are rightly demanding that we restore our water bodies to a state of good health and resilience.”

Across England, the Environment Agency recorded nearly 36,000 category one to three water pollution incidents between 2018 and 2022.

The number of cases judged to be from water companies has risen over that time period – from 1,922 in 2018 to 2,213 last year.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “The number of pollution incidents caused by the water industry is unacceptably high.

“We expect water companies to significantly reduce them, and to report them to us quickly.

“We will not hesitate to take enforcement action where necessary and have secured over £150m in fines from the water industry since 2015.”