The government has taken action to ensure water quality and combat sewage discharges.
Water companies will now face strict limits around storm overflows which commonly lead to sewage discharge – they must now prevent any harm this causes to the environment.
The new legislation builds on the Environment Act, which required the government to develop a statutory plan outlining water companies’ duties.
Fixing overflows and investment in modernising the British sewer system are also key areas of focus for the government.
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “We are the first government to set out our expectation that water companies must take steps to significantly reduce storm overflows and we are consulting on the single biggest programme in history to tackle storm sewage discharges.
“We are setting ambitious targets, delivering on our Environment Act and cracking down on those water companies that are not playing their part in delivering the clean water that the people of this country want to see.”