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Defra consultation - Improving our management of water

Defra has identified opportunities to modernise regulation to enable better long-term planning and give regulators the powers that they need to improve the water environment and water services. The consultation sets out proposals for:

Better long-term planning for water resources and drainage through:

- improved water resources planning to facilitate collaborative regional planning and consider all sectors of water users; and

- statutory drainage and wastewater planning to assess fully wastewater network capacity and to develop collaborative solutions with local authorities, who are responsible for parts of the drainage system.

Modernising water regulation by:

- reforming elements of abstraction licensing to link it more tightly to our objectives for the water environment. In particular, we propose to clarify the conditions under which the Environment Agency can amend licences to secure good ecological status for water bodies;
- amend existing legislation to enable a new charging methodology for Internal Drainage Boards. Internal Drainage Boards are flood Risk Management Authorities and carry out an important duty in managing water levels in Drainage Districts. The proposed change will enable government, where there is local support, to create new Internal Drainage Boards or expand existing Internal Drainage Boards;
- enabling the Somerset Rivers Authority to be incorporated and establishing it as a flood Risk Management Authority and a major precepting authority so it can work more effectively with other organisations to better protect the residents and local environment from flooding;
-we are also taking the opportunity to begin discussions around enabling new local funding to be raised to tackle flooding and coastal erosion; and
modernise the process for modifying water company licence conditions to bring them in line with other utilities and to strengthen Ofwat’s ability to improve the way that water companies operate.

The full consultation document can be accessed here.

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You can also express your views by completing this Online Survey