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£2.8bn water company investment to help green recovery

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People standing on the green banks of the River Wharfe near IlkleyThere has been coverage today of Ofwat’s announcement of a draft package of over £2.7 billion investment from water companies as part of their plans to help the country build back greener from the pandemic.

This follows a joint letter from Defra, the Environment Agency, Ofwat, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, and CCW sent to water companies last July encouraging them to accelerate investment, bring forward future investment and implement new ideas.

The funding breaks down into plans to support new investment projects worth over £850m to benefit the environment and create new jobs. This is alongside a further £1.9 billion of future planned projects which will be brought forward.

As part of the new package of investment, companies will commit over £157 million to help eliminate harm caused by storm overflows and trial the creation of two new bathing rivers. Ofwat will consult on these draft decisions before making final decisions in July. The consultation will close at midday on Wednesday 9 June.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

£850m of new funding shows that water companies have risen to the challenge to help drive this country’s green recovery.

I am particularly pleased to see increased investment to eliminate the harm from storm overflows, following calls by the Storm Overflows Taskforce to accelerate progress in this area.

The investments announced today, in addition to a raft of measures being taken by the Government, will both benefit the environment and create more jobs as we build back better, and greener, from the pandemic.

Environment Agency chair Emma Howard Boyd said: 

The green recovery is an opportunity to go further on net zero, nature-based solutions and environmental protection. It is hugely encouraging to see water companies accelerate investment to deliver real and lasting improvements.

This demonstrates a renewed commitment to reduce pollution incidents and to prepare the country for escalating climate shocks like floods and demand for water during heatwaves. I look forward to seeing the results.

More detail on the draft proposals can be accessed here.

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