Anglian to install solar /storage pairing in bid to halve treatment plant power costs

TECHNICAL UPDATE Anglian Water, is to install 300kWh of power storage batteries alongside solar photovoltaic generation plant at one of its water treatment works. The set up will store surplus solar generated during the day for later use and reduce the site’s reliance on the purchased power. The project is a partnership with energy storage manufacturer RedT and energy technology firm, Open Energy. Anglian plans to build more than 30MW of solar capacity under a 25-year PPA contract with HBS New Energies and Macquarie Principal Finance. It will, according to Anglian, reduce its annual emissions by 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and save more than £1m a year. A second solar programme is sche

Planning policy is encouraging SUDS in new developments, ministry review finds

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government last week published a report examining how national planning policies for sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) are reflected in local plans and the uptake of these systems across a range of housing and commercial developments in England. It is more than three years since national planning policy for SUDS was strengthened to make SUDS a requirement in all new major developments. The review found: Current arrangements for SuDS in planning has been successful in encouraging the take-up of sustainable drainage systems in a cross-section of new developments with almost 90% of all approved planning applications sampled featuring SuDS. While

Thames engages with a million customers for PR19 business plan research

Ahead of the release of its PR19 business plan next week, Thames Water has said it has engaged with a record-breaking one million customers in shaping its price, service and investment plan for 2020-25. That is one in every 15 of its customers. The company asked for feedback through surveys, text messages, online and face-to-face engagement with customers, including high usage and small businesses, developers, customers in vulnerable circumstances, different age groups, low income and those from various faith groups It also said it had used innovative techniques including a ‘shape your water future’ tool which gave a range of options for trade-offs between service and price; analysis around

Associated retailers to vote on new director position on MOSL board

Elections for two positions on the MOSL board are scheduled for 3 September. The post of director elected by unassociated retailers, currently held by Castle Water’s John Reynolds, is up for reelection. There will be a second election for the new post of director elected by associated retailers. This follows members voting in favour of a board recommendation to give associated retailers the same voting rights as wholesalers and unassociated retailers, and to create a new non-executive board director position, filled through an election by the associated retailers.

CC Water charts millions of pounds worth of financial wins for customers

The Consumer Council for Water last week published its 2017/18 annual review, which, it said, “sets out what we delivered for consumers during a year when water companies – and the essential services they provide – faced intense public and political scrutiny”. The watchdog highlighted the following achievements: securing nearly £1.4m in financial redress for aggrieved customers after handling almost 19,000 complaints and enquiries about water companies; identifying around £14.5m in potential annual bill savings for customers through its water meter calculator; helping about 3,400 low-income consumers identify potential welfare payments totalling more than £9.3m through its Benefits Calculato

Affinity Water announces Caymans closure plan

Affinity Water is developing proposals to remove its overseas financing company from its corporate structure. The company has appointed advisors and hopes to achieve consent from creditors by the end of this year. It intends to replace Caymans-based Affinity Water Programme Finance Limited with a UK registered subsidiary. In a statement, Affinity said: “AWPFL was established in 2013 to raise long-term finance for Affinity Water’s investment programme and operations through the issue of bonds listed on the London Stock Exchange. It was incorporated outside the UK for legal reasons that are no longer relevant. The company’s board considers it in the interests of customers and wider stakeholder

Defra confirms infrastructure types and sizes ahead of National Policy Statement

Defra has confirmed it will press on with the amendments it consulted on in April to the types and sizes of nationally significant infrastructure for water resources set out in the Planning Act 2008, as part of its work to develop a National Policy Statement (NPS) for Water Resources. This follows support from the majority of the 20 respondents to its April consultation. The Department last week published a consultation response summary and the government response. The amendments are: A "deployable" output measure, set consistently at 80m litres of water a day, will be introduced for all scheme types. Defra said this will create a level playing field for all schemes defined as nationally sig

EA and Anglian Water make top 20 list of employers for work/life balance

The Environment Agency and Anglian Water featured in a top 20 list of best companies to work for in terms of work/life balance, published last week by recruitment firm Glassdoor. The Environment Agency was ranked fourth, and Anglian Water 19th – the only two organisations directly active in the water sector in the top 20. Citizens Advice ranked 12th. The top spot went to energy consultancy Northern Gas and Power.

CC Water calls for final push on customer acceptability of PR19 plans

The Consumer Council for Water has urged water companies to push themselves to secure high levels of customer acceptability of their 2020-25 price and service packages in the final few weeks before they submit their business plans to Ofwat on 3 September. Senior policy manager Steve Hobbs (pictured) said the watchdog is looking for ambition in companies’ customer acceptability testing; for firms to be “thinking on a wider basis than price alone, testing customer acceptability of the service improvements proposed in their plans;” and for evidence that companies have thought about how they convey the key messages in their plans to their customer base. He stressed that customer acceptability of

Anglian trades water access to help struggling farmers

Anglian Water has struck a short term trade to make more water available for farmers struggling to irrigate their crops. Under the two-week deal with the Environment Agency and local drainage board, Anglian will take less water from the River Nene for public supply purposes, so farmers around Peterborough and Cambridge have access to an extra 20 million litres a day. That is equivalent to the domestic use of 150,000 customers. Nick Walters, ground and surface water manager for Anglian Water said: “Despite the recent dry weather, we know our water resources are in a good place for this time of year – our reservoirs are 85% full and groundwater levels are healthy. This isn’t just down to luck,

Environment Agency grants four drought permits to United Utilities

The Environment Agency has granted four drought permits to United Utilities and continues to consider a fifth application. The granted permits relate to the Windemere reservoir, the Delph and Rivington reservoirs and the Scales borehole. Windermere – the permit enables United Utilities to take additional water from the lake at times when flows are sufficiently high. This is to support the recovery of storage in Haweswater, a key source of drinking water for the people of the North West. Delph reservoir in Bolton and Rivington reservoir in Lancashire – these two permits will allow United Utilities to reduce the ‘compensation flow’ it has a legal requirement to release downstream. This will a

Stantec plans new UK acquisition

Design firm, Stantec, has unveiled moves to expand its UK presence with its planned acquisition of Reading-based Peter Brett Associates LLP (PBA).The deal is expected to close in September. According to Stantec, PBA, which has 14 offices in the UK and three across Central Europe, has more than 50 years of project experience in key regional markets, including energy and waste and water sectors. Since 2010, the firm has been working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project. More than 10 per cent of Stantec’s 22,000 staff are based in the UK.

Southern fined £110,000 for drinking water offences

Southern Water has been fined £65,000 with costs of more than £44,600 for drinking water offences described as "flagrant disregard for regulatory duties," by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). The company pleaded guilty to charges, brought of supplying water unfit for human consumption from its Cooks Castle service reservoir on the Isle of Wight between 31 January and 12 February 2013. The DWI investigation which began in 2016 revealed a then “undisclosed and significant water incident from 2013.” Chief Inspector of Drinking Water, Marcus Rink, said “Flagrant disregard for regulatory duties and consumer protection will always result in action by the inspectorate in the public interest”.

MOSL sets its sights on concerted resolution of market issues

Resolving market issues is the focus of MOSL’s latest Quarterly market review, published today, which covers Q1 2018/19. The market operator said it was “time to move to a more planned approach that pulls work together in an agreed and prioritised way that enables focus on the most important areas and facilitates tracking of progress”. To that end, MOSL reported on a number of actions including: Its June Market Improvement Strategy, which sets the strategic goals of reducing market friction and promoting effective competition. Its Market Performance Operating Plan which shows the planned approach to these outcomes for the next 18 months. The high priority outcomes are: enabling efficient set

United Utilities reports hike in nitrate removal crops as more fields enter bid

United Utilities has reported a 56% hike in the number fields entered by farmers in a reverse auction for funding to grow cover crops over winter to take up nitrates remaining in the soil after the summer. The crops reduce nitrate pollution of water sources caused by leaching of the salts into groundwater. The online auction run by online platform Entrade enabled farmers who worked land over important water storage aquifers, to bid a price they wanted United Utilities to pay them to grow the cover crops based on their price per hectare and the resulting nitrogen saving. In this years bidding 50 fields totalling 246 hectares were entered into the auction. The bids totalled almost £30,000 – up

Policy makers unite behind regional water resource planning

Policy makers have mandated regional, multi-sector water resources planning as part of a package of measures to overhaul water supply resilience policy. An overview of the new expectations was set out in a letter of 9 August issued to water companies jointly by DEFRA water director Sarah Hendry, Ofwat chief executive Rachel Fletcher, chief drinking water inspector Marcus Rink and Environment Agency executive director of environment and business Harvey Bradshaw. On regional planning, the policy-makers acknowledged the work already undertaken to improve coordination by regional hubs WRSE and WRE, as well as Wessex Water’s thinking around the ‘open system’ model. But they went on to say “the in

Lord Blencathra appointed deputy chair of Natural England

Environment secretary, Michael Gove, has appointed Lord Blencathra as deputy chair of Natural England (NE) until his term as an NE board member ends on 11 March 2021. Lord Blencathra (pictured) has been a Conservative life peer since February 2011. As David Maclean he was MP for Penrith and The Border and was formerly minister of state at the Home Office and a minister at the Department of the Environment in the 1990s. He was appointed to the board of NE in March 2018.

Ofwat locks in leakage penalties for Thames

Following a consultation period, Ofwat last week confirmed that it will impose the £120m payment and penalty package on Thames Water it consulted on in June for leakage failures. Thames sustained automatic penalties of £55m under the Outcome Incentive Delivery scheme for not meeting its leakage Performance Commitments between 2016-17 and 2018-19. The company agreed to pay a further £65m after an Ofwat investigation which revealed breaches of two legal obligations through poor leakage management. The regulator concluded that Thames Water’s board and management did not pay enough attention to reducing leakage and that the company underestimated the significance of its underperformance on leaka

DEFRA publishes nitrate guidance for farmers

DEFRA has published guidance for farmers and landowners that explains the rules they must follow if their land is in a nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ). Among other things, the guidance details how to find out if land is in an NVZ; NVZ rules and cross-compliance requirements; and how to prevent water pollution more widely. NVZs are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution. They include about 55% of land in England. DEFRA reviews NVZs every four years to account for changes in nitrate concentrations.

Ofwat grants water adoption agreement extension

Ofwat has given water companies an extra three months to submit proposals under the Code for Adoption Agreements. The Code deals with the adoption of water infrastructure and sewerage infrastructure for English companies. It requires companies to develop sector guidance setting out the processes by which parties can enter into adoption agreements, and model adoption agreements. In an information note (IN18/16), the regulator moved the deadline by which companies are required to submit water proposals to Ofwat for approval from 1 October 2018 to 7 January 2019, following a request from the sector. It said: “The additional time added is to allow for companies to undertake further engagement an