The National Infrastructure Strategy – the government’s response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s National Infrastructure Assessment of July 2018 – was not published alongside the Budget last week, as had been expected. Treasury documents confirmed the strategy will now be published “later in the spring”.
There was little specific to water in chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first Budget, though there were developments related to the sector’s net zero ambitions and environmental responsibilities. These included widening producer responsibility for pollution; support for work to restore woodland and peatland; funding for flood protection; and a package of energy measures including a green gas levy to support biomethane production and supply to the gas grid.
There was no commitment to water labelling of appliances. Water UK chief executive Christine McGourty commented: “We are asking the government to go further however and make it easier for customers to cut water use in businesses and in the home. Mandatory water efficiency labelling of appliances would make a big difference if included in the Environment Bill.”
Evidence sessions were held on the Environment Bill last week, with Water UK’s director of strategy Stuart Colville among those giving evidence.