Firms in England and Wales must now consult the public on the plans, which used to be voluntary (ENDS Report 373, pp 34-35 ).
The principle was established by the Water Act 2003. The relevant sections were brought into force by a commencement order at the end of March.1
Regulations prescribing how the plans are to be prepared and published, including a list of obligatory consultees, were issued in March and came into force on 1 April.2
The commencement order also brought into force provisions in the 2003 Act enabling the government to force companies to "adopt" private sewers in specified areas (ENDS Report 358, pp 48-49 ).