In an joint letter to UK water companies, the Government, the Environment Agency, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, Ofwat and CCW have called on them to accelerate their existing AMP7 plans – and consider bringing future investment from 2025 and beyond forward.
The letter says they can play their part in the country’s green economic recovery from the COVID pandemic and deliver a new and more resilient future.
In the context of climate change, growing demand for water and exemplary services, the letter says:
“Meeting these goals will require you to deliver the ambitious existing programmes set out in PR19 and agreed through Water UK’s public interest commitment, and to go further. Supporting the country’s green recovery ambitions is an opportunity to accelerate.”
The letter sets out how the companies could play an enhanced role and go even further to deliver more and invites them to make specific proposals to:
- accelerate existing plans and environmental priorities within the agreed 2020-25 plans, considering the enhanced use of nature-based solutions to deliver them;
- bring forward ‘enhancement investment’ proposals from 2025 and beyond
It also asks them to put forward specific new innovative ideas, which would benefit future generations or current customers, including:
- water resources
- flood mitigation
- net zero
- water quality improvements
In return, Government and water regulators will facilitate water companies to accelerate planned investment, bring forward future investment and implement new ideas to boost the economy. Existing funded investment and service performance commitments would be expected to be on track.
However, before proposing additional customer funding for investment, companies would be expected to have “exploited alternatives such as government schemes and third-party funding.”
“In your proposals we would expect to see companies taking care to demonstrate how they will be delivered, value for money for customers, how any affordability pressures for customers will be managed and evidence of support through customer consultation.”
The letter concludes:
“To support the green recovery, we are happy to offer a joint conversation with companies that want to discuss a new proposal and how best to take it forward. These meetings can take place from this September. We will confirm the process for arranging these shortly.”
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