There is coverage today (19 August) in Eastern Daily Press, Farmers Guardian and Farming UK, among others, about the Environment Agency’s 12 week consultation on changes to the way organisations and individuals are charged to abstract water from the environment.
These changes are to help better manage and protect our water resources. Based on recent projections, more than 3.4 billion additional litres per day will be needed in England by 2050, 23% more than today’s supplies.
The new proposed charges – which have not changed for the past 10 years – will be based on:
- the volume of water taken from the environment;
- where the water is taken from; and
- how much of that water is returned to the environment
Under the proposals, around 45% of abstractors will see their annual charges decrease and 55% will see an increase. Overall, three quarters (75%) of all abstractors will see either a decrease or an increase of less than £100.
The changes will enable the Environment Agency to invest more in upgrading infrastructure assets to move water around the country and protecting water-stressed catchments such as chalk streams.
Environment Agency Chief Executive Sir James Bevan said:
In the face of the climate emergency, population growth and rising demand for water, we need to protect our rivers, aquifers and the environment; and ensure that those who rely on water for their business or public supply can continue to do so into the future.
The proposed changes to the Environment Agency’s water abstraction licence charges are designed to do that. They will allow the EA to do more to protect our rivers and chalk streams; to manage our water resources better for the public, businesses and the environment; and to sustain supplies into the future, helping us secure long term water resilience.
I urge anyone with an interest to take part in this consultation on this critical issue for us all.
All those who abstract water from the environment – including water companies, farmers, local authorities and other organisations – are encouraged to take part.