UNITED Utilities has said it needs to work with its  partners in agriculture and other sectors to help protect our bodies of water, including the River Weaver.

The water company has issued a response to Mike Amesbury's column, published on February 23, titled 'Disgusting practices are bad for our environment'.

In her letter, Emma Birch, the area engagement lead in Cheshire, said: "I’d like to provide some context to Mike Amesbury MP’s recent opinion piece in the Northwich & Winsford Guardian in which he highlighted an incident involving agricultural waste.

"Although this case is outside of the responsibility of United Utilities, the MP raises an important issue.

"When looking at how we protect our beautiful waterways, no one organisation can address all the potential sources of pollution, and we need to work with partners in agriculture and other sectors to help tackle the issues impacting our water bodies.

"We have been working with a broad range of partners across the River Weaver catchment to better engage farming communities upstream and downstream of Nantwich, working on education and awareness programmes.

"These partnerships are helping to identify water quality risks and issues, so interventions can be put in place to manage risks associated with water quality.

"Whilst the issue raised by Mike Amesbury was not linked to United Utilities, he then went on to talk about his party’s plans to reform water companies, repeating recent claims by Panorama that United Utilities 'wrongly downgraded' pollution incidents.

"We strongly reject any suggestion of this because it is the Environment Agency that determines the initial and final categorisations of pollution incidents, not water companies.

"Nevertheless, we don’t underestimate the important role we have to play. Not only are we working with partners who can deliver changes to bring about action, but we’re also investing to upgrade our infrastructure.

"We have a large scale programme we are delivering across the Weaver catchment to reduce nutrient loads discharged through our wastewater treatment works.

"Recent investment has included £6.8 million in Wrenbury Waste Water Treatment Works, £4 million at Bulkeley Waste Water Treatment Works, and £8.7 million at Audlem Waste Water Treatment Works.

"This investment is going to continue into 2025 and beyond with the largest environmental programme we will have ever delivered."