Severn Trent boss rakes in £3.2m despite ‘reckless’ pollution

Liv Garfield. Credit: Severn Trent

The boss of Severn Trent Water received £3.2m in pay last year, despite the water company being fined £2m for its ‘reckless’ pollution of the River Trent.

Liv Garfield’s pay packet includes a £584k bonus on top of her £799k base salary, meaning her total take-home pay during her ten-year reign comes to more than £28m.

Garfield secured just over 60% of the bonus that she was eligible for after Severn missed its environmental targets due to the £2m fine.

The firm supplies water to 4.6m people across the Midlands, from the outskirts of Sheffield, down to Bristol, and into north and mid-Wales.

It discharged 470 million litres of raw sewage from its Strongford wastewater treatment works near Stoke-on-Trent between November 2019 and February 2020.

260 million litres of this sewage was discharged illegally.

District Judge Kevin Grego ruled that there was a reckless failure by the company to have in place and implement a proper system of contingency planning.

The water company had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of illegally discharging raw sewage. It was fined £1,072,000 and £1m plus costs of £16,476.67 and a victim’s surcharge of £181.

Two of the three screw pumps had failed at Strongford, meaning sewage amounting to the size of ten Olympic swimming pools entered the storm overflow and into the River Trent.

The Environmental Agency said that it was “pure good luck” that levels in the river were high due to Storm Ciara and as a result, the impact was reduced.

A Severn Trent spokesperson said: “Delivering for our customers, our communities and the environment underpins our approach to remuneration.

“Just under three-quarters of executive pay is directly linked to performance, with stretching targets in place.

“In 2023-24 we maintained our position as a sector-leading performer, delivering against our operational targets for customers, investing £1.2bn across our region and achieving a four-star rating from the Environmental Agency for a fourth consecutive year.”

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