Changes to Environment Agency abstraction fees to secure water supplies for humans and wildlife

  • New charging framework to protect the environment and England’s long-term water supply

  • It will provide a more equitable system where people pay for the services they receive and those who withdraw a lot of water pay more

  • The funds are needed to secure sustainable water resources for the environment, economy and society now and in the future

The new rules were approved by the government and published in the Environment Agency’s response to the review of abstraction fees for water resources and the outcome of its consultation.

The Environment Agency regulates the abstraction and impoundment of water and works with water companies, farmers, industry, businesses and others to protect access to water and ensure water abstraction in England is sustainable.

England is facing increased pressure on its water resources due to population growth and climate change. Without action, significant water shortages are predicted in parts of the country by 2050, and some rivers could have between 50 and 80 percent less water in the summer. According to recent forecasts, more than 3.4 billion extra liters per day will be needed in England by then, a 23% increase on current supplies.

The Water Resources Review of Charges aims to create a more equitable system where people pay for the services they receive and those who withdraw large amounts of water, such as

The new fees – which have not changed in the last 10 years – are based on:

  • the amount of water removed from the environment

  • where the water is taken from

  • how much of that water is returned to the environment

The new charging framework will secure an additional £25m in revenue each year to protect access to water and tackle environmental challenges, including protecting England’s vulnerable habitats such as the UK. B. chalk streams.

The increase in fee financing enables further investments by the Federal Environment Agency in:

  • Protection of future supplies through maintenance and operation of infrastructure, including water diversion systems, tide gauges, weirs and locks

  • Modernization of the license system for water abstraction through digital transformation

  • Protecting and enhancing the environment through a more sustainable approach to water abstraction with increased emphasis on rare and vulnerable habitats, such as England’s unique chalk streams

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency said:

The biggest long-term threat to the environment, our economy, and our lifestyle is the amount of water – simply enough for humans and animals.

With climate catastrophe, population growth and increasing demand for water, we need to ensure that those who use water and depend on it for their business can continue to do so, now and in the future, protecting our rivers and aquifers.

As part of this, we need a system that allows us to charge fully and fairly for the water conservation services we provide, and to help businesses meet their needs in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.


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