The proposals suggest that a “small number” of historical licences issued 20 or 40 years ago may need to be changed in order to protect the aquatic environment and the EA has outlined changes to licence charges to fund compensation payments to those abstractors affected.
“Although this will be the case for only a small number of licences, we are required to make compensation to those affected,” EA chief executive Barbara Young commented. “We need to take action to stop these historical licences from damaging the environment now.
“Abstraction charge increases have remained around the level of inflation for years. But water is becoming increasingly scarce as a result of increasing demand – and is likely to become even more so with climate change. We need to value it accordingly,” she said.
A fact sheet has been sent to all water abstraction licence holders setting out the context of the consultation. The abstraction licence charges consultation document is available at the Environment agency website.
The consultation closes on 7 December 2007 and a final decision is expected to be made in March 2008.