10-year wait for water reforms

Complex and long-term reforms of the water abstraction regime have been issued by DEFRA. They aim to link abstraction rights to water availability, but not until the 2020s

Water abstraction rights should be linked to water availability in future, while more trading of abstraction rights should be encouraged, DEFRA says.

The long-awaited proposals for reform of abstraction licensing in England and Wales were set out in a 17 December consultation.1

However, the changes would need primary legislation to be implemented and would enter force only gradually from the early 2020s, DEFRA says. There are also fears they will never happen because they are potentially unpopular and will have to be implemented by a new government.

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