Following Ofwat's proposals for promoting greater use of markets within sludge treatment, recycling and disposal, the regulator has published the terms of reference for a discussion group that will scrutinise the main features of the sludge market mechanism.
Ofwat's sludge technical working group will not be a decision making body but an "open forum to enable constructive discussion". It will comprise representatives of 15 water industry players as well as Ofwat. They are:
Natural Resources Wales
Severn Trent Water
South West Water
The main design features of Ofwat's proposal include:
separate binding price control for water and sewerage companies' sludge (treatment, transport, recycling and disposal);
development of a centralised information platform, managed by a third party (potentially Ofwat) which would publish relevant information on sludge treatment, recycling and disposal to bring on greater use of markets; and
guidelines on how bids from third parties should be assessed by incumbents to help mitigate potential discrimination concerns. Companies would be required to report trading activities and demonstrate due process when assessing any proposed bids from third parties.