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  • by Karma Loveday

Households willing to pay premium for nature-based wastewater treatment, CCW finds

Customers are keen to go green – and pay extra for it, according to new research from CCW.


A survey of over 2,000 people, supplemented by three focus groups, found households would be willing to pay up to £40 a year more on their water bill to use nature-based approaches rather than man-made solutions like storm tanks to improve river water quality and reduce the risk of flooding.


CCW said cost was the single most important consideration for people when asked to think about what water companies in England and Wales should be prioritising when it comes to infrastructure projects. But despite cost-of-living pressures, consumers were still willing to make some trade-offs to help pay for environmentally-friendly approaches as they recognised they could provide additional benefits.


However the research also found significant scepticism among customers on whether water companies could be trusted to deliver and maintain the schemes effectively enough to bring the promised benefits to rivers, wildlife and the wider environment.


The water watchdog pointed out that its study of water company PR24 business plans has revealed evidence that some companies have reduced the role of nature-based projects – such as sustainable drainage solutions – in favour of building concrete tanks or other man-made approaches. It has asked Ofwat to scrutinise this in light of the research findings, as part of its determination assessments.


Chief executive of CCW, Dr Mike Keil, commented: “Water quantity and quality lies at the heart of the climate crisis that confronts us. Customers strongly support working with nature – not against it – to overcome these challenges through sustainable approaches. Water companies must listen to their customers and ensure people’s preferences are reflected in their future investment plans. Companies that relentlessly pursue traditional, carbon-intensive solutions, rather than nature-based approaches that can deliver greater value in the long run, risk further eroding customers’ trust.”

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