A "FINE to flush" symbol is being introduced for wet wipes that have passed strict tests to ensure they will not contribute to sewer "fatbergs", the water industry has said.

Manufacturers of wipes will be able to feature the official water industry logo on their packaging if their products pass the independent tests to prove they can be safely flushed down the toilet.

This will let consumers know that the products do not contain plastic and will break down in the sewer system instead of clogging up sewers and contributing to fatbergs which cause blockages, industry body Water UK said.

The move comes amid consumer confusion and growing concern about the problems caused by flushing away wet wipes, many of which are labelled flushable but do not break down quickly when they enter the sewer system. These types of wipes would not pass the stringent tests that will allow them to receive the symbol.

Fatbergs, which are mainly caused by a build-up of wet wipes, oils and grease into a solid mass, have increased in frequency in recent years, with a 210ft (64m) fatberg discovered blocking a sewer in Sidmouth, Devon, this week.

Non-flushable wet wipes could make up around 93% of the material causing some sewer blockages, according to research into the problem in 2017.

Water UK, which represents water and sewerage companies, said there are approximately 300,000 sewer blockages a year, costing £100 million, harming the environment and leading to home and business drains backing up.

Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts said: "This is an important step in the battle against blockages.

"We've all seen the impact of fatbergs recently, and we want to see fewer of them.

"Improving the environment is at the core of what the water industry does, and the new 'fine to flush' standard that we've created will make it easier for consumers to buy an environmentally-friendly product instead of one which clogs up drains and sewers."