Welsh water companies will not need to discharge effluent into rivers and the sea for the time being, according to Natural Resources Wales (NRW). 

The environmental regulator has sought to allay fears that sewage which has not been treated properly would be allowed to be released into waterways, thanks to a chemical shortage caused by Brexit and the pandemic.

The advice from NRW follows a statement released on Monday by the Environment Agency in England, which told water companies struggling to get hold of the necessary treatment chemicals they would be allowed to "discharge effluent without meeting the conditions" of their permits. 

However, Ruth Johnston, lead specialist advisor on water strategy for NRW, said: “Due to the shortage of appropriately licenced HGV drivers there are disruptions to normal deliveries of treatment chemicals to water company sites.

“These chemicals are vital to ensuring our water supply is clean and safe and that our waste water causes minimal environmental impacts.

“While there are currently no impacts on water companies in Wales we are working closely with our partners to manage any risk.”

There is currently a shortage of 100,000 lorry drivers across the UK, as well as a lack of workers in other sectors.

NRW also issued a correction to several London-based media outlets, who - 22 years after devolution - erroneously reported that the waste water permit waiver applied to “England and Wales”.