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  • by Karma Loveday

Watchdogs invite companies to pitch green recovery proposals

Government, regulators and the customer watchdog in England have issued an invitation to water companies to propose projects to accelerate a green recovery from Covid 19.

In a joint letter issued last week, Defra, Ofwat, the EA, DWI and CCW asked companies to make specific proposals to:

  • accelerate existing plans and environmental priorities within the agreed 2020-25 plans, considering the enhanced use of nature-based solutions to deliver them;

  • bring forward enhancement investment proposals from 2025 and beyond; and

  • implement specific new innovative ideas, “which would benefit future generations or current customers. These could include: water resources, flood mitigation, net zero or water quality improvements.”

The stakeholders pledged to work together to minimise regulatory barriers that are brought to their attention as far as possible; to avoid contradictory advice; and help to resolve issues jointly where necessary. They offered September meetings to discuss the possibilities further with firms. The letter said schemes already committed to in business plans may be able to proceed without further regulatory consideration, while others will need regulatory attention.

The stakeholders cautioned that they expect to see the following from any companies that bring suggestions forward:

  • existing funded investment and service performance commitments to be on track;

  • before proposing additional customer funding for investment, companies should have exploited alternatives such as government schemes and third-party funding; and

  • companies taking care to demonstrate how schemes will be delivered, value for money for customers, how any affordability pressures for customers will be managed and evidence of support through customer consultation.


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