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  • by Karma Loveday

Scottish Water plans charge increases to fund a net zero future

Scottish Water has said moderate above inflation increases in charges will likely be needed to make water services resilient to a changing climate and to reduce emissions to net zero.

Last week, the company published its strategic plan for the coming 25 years, A sustainable future together. Adapting to the climate crisis was a key feature.

In his introduction, chief executive, Douglas Millican (pictured) compared the Victorian’s creation of the industry in response to a public health crisis with the need to transform the industry today in light of the climate crisis: “Over 150 years ago the Victorian pioneers created the water industry in response to the public health crises of that time…Over the next 25 years, this plan will enable Scottish Water to transform how services are delivered again as we deal with the climatic threats to our services, replace our ageing assets, and play our full part in reducing emissions to beyond net zero.”

Scottish Water plans to develop a route map this year “setting out how we will lead our industry to achieve net zero emissions; involving radical action, transformative change and additional investment”.

Millican said: “While we will remain sensitive to customers’ economic circumstances, we currently expect that delivering this investment will likely require moderate above inflation increases in charges, which we will limit by continuing to drive strenuously for greater efficiency, and continued access to borrowing from the Scottish Government.”

The company is striving to be open with customers and regulators, he said. Scottish Water will “hold world leading public engagement with customers and communities about the rate of progress that they wish us to achieve and the associated cost”. Over the next year it intends to prepare a Delivery Plan for the 2021-27 period setting out plans and priorities for the first part of this strategic plan period.

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