Overhaul of water abstraction rules

Sweeping changes to the licensing system for water abstractions were proposed by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) in June.1 The proposals seek to put all abstraction licences on an equal, time-limited footing and scrap compensation for troublesome 'licences of right' which were issued in perpetuity in the 1960s. A new duty on water companies to use water efficiently in their own operations is proposed, and the Environment Agency would be given more wide-ranging powers over all abstractors.

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