Home | News/Events | News | Water Bill Changes Welcomed

Water Bill Changes Welcomed

By

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

The Blueprint for Water coalition of environmental groups has welcomed changes to the Water Bill that will increase the sustainability of the water industry by placing a new, strengthened ‘resilience duty’ on the regulator.

 

 
Source: Angling Trust

The Water Bill currently passing through parliament will give Ofwat a duty to promote ‘resilience’ by ensuring that water companies ‘manage water resources in sustainable ways and reduce demand for water.’


The Blueprint coalition, which includes WWF, RSPB and the Angling Trust, had raised concerns that the Bill initially defined resilience in a way that ignored the vital role it plays in supporting the resilience of the natural environment.

 
The Government have now amended the ‘resilience duty’ so that it includes environmental resilience, and Blueprint members now believe this duty could play an important role in ensuring that water companies deliver environmental improvements to the UK’s already stressed and over-abstracted rivers and watercourses.

 
However, Blueprint believes that even with these welcome amendments the Water Bill is still far too timid and fails to live up to the 2011 Water White Paper, which promised abstraction reform.

  
Martin Salter, Campaigns Chief for the Angling Trust said:

"All the environmental groups have been working hard to ensure that the water regulator was obligated to take account of environmental concerns and not just economic pressures. This new and strengthened resilience duty, with its obligation ‘to manage water resources in sustainable ways and reduce demand for water’, goes some way to addressing our concerns and we are pleased that the government has listened." 


The main thrust of the Water Bill is introducing competition in the retail market for water, but the Bill also introduces competition in the so-called upstream market, namely in water abstraction, treatment and disposal of sewage. However, environmentalists are concerned that without reform of the system by which we abstract water, upstream competition could incentivise existing abstraction licence holders to sell their water to water companies even when the catchment is already ‘over- abstracted’ or ‘over-licensed.’


Given that the Environment Agency estimate that nearly 40% of water company abstraction volume is not used and that 18% of catchments are over-licensed already, this is no paper risk. 


Rose O’Neill, Water Policy Manager at WWF said:

"We are urgently calling on the Government to set out its commitment on abstraction reform in the Water Bill. Without this, our already over-stressed water environment could be further degraded, and the potential benefits of upstream competition will never be realised." 


The Blueprint for Water coalition is calling for the Government to amend the Water Bill so that it:

• Creates a framework for a sustainable abstraction regime;

• Introduces safeguards for the environment against upstream competition;

• Gives customers the right to choose universal metering in their area;

• Ensures that fracking companies have the funds to pay for the cost of clean-up, should pollution occur.

 







By the Same Author



Rate this article

0




Comments (4 posted):

the blanker on 27/01/2014 17:30:37
avatar
Just one thing that bothers me in that piece, the last point in the article about fracking companies having the resources to pay for a clean up should an accident happen. does that mean they are expecting one? I don't know much about fracking and i don't want to start that debate again but shouldn't the government be making sure accidents don't happen? Clean ups are all very well but are reactive and some damage done could last for years, having money would not solve that problem. Still at least the group have got the government to add the environment to the bill, should have been there in the first place though.
barbelboi on 27/01/2014 18:22:07
avatar
I don't think anyone can make sure accidents don't happen - that's why they're called accidents (in this scenario something unforeseen due to mechanical/human error? - after all any company is only as good as their worst employee). They can only ensure that every aspect of involvement is well assessed to minimise the chance before any works are commenced and also ensure that an adequate fund is available to cover any unforeseen incident.
the blanker on 27/01/2014 18:46:15
avatar
I don't think anyone can make sure accidents don't happen - that's why they're called accidents (in this scenario something unforeseen due to mechanical/human error? - after all any company is only as good as their worst employee). They can only ensure that every aspect of involvement is well assessed to minimise the chance before any works are commenced and also ensure that an adequate fund is available to cover any unforeseen incident. I understand what you are saying, health & safety was a big part of my job as I worked in a chemical plant, perhaps I should have put it better.
Peter Jacobs on 27/01/2014 19:08:26
avatar
As in all aspects of drilling/production we undertake not only risk analyses on each activity but also a JSA (Job Safety Analysis) at each and every step along the way. In addition we hold pre-shift safety tool box talks on every shift. Safety is a way of life on drilling rigs and production facilities, on one job we expended over 22,000,000 man hours of work before a single LTA ( Lost Time Incident) was encountered. In spite of all of these safeguards and practices there can still be an equipment malfunction or a human intervention error. I truly doubt if there is any industry on this planet that exercises more safety related caution and training than the oil and gas business.


Add a comment

  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

martin salter, angling trust

Follow FishingMagic!