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  • by Karma Loveday

Water firms must have sewage plan to access UK Infrastructure Bank finance

Water companies will only be able to access investment from the new UK Infrastructure Bank if they have a demonstrable plan to prevent sewage discharges into waterways.


The government last week accepted an amendment to the UK Infrastructure Bank Bill brought by Liberal Democrat MP, Richard Foord, that: “The bank may only provide any of the support listed in subsection (4) to water companies if they have produced a costed, time limited plan demonstrating they are committed to preventing discharge.”


Foord explained: “This is important because communities across the UK are currently being impacted by the actions of some negligent and wayward water companies. For years, we have seen these firms failing to invest in our vital infrastructure, but instead prioritising shareholder payouts and bumper bonuses for chief executive officers…If we do not add strict sewerage conditions to the Bill, we will give a blank cheque using taxpayers’ money to fund those polluting, profiteering firms.”


Economic secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffith, called the amendment “entirely superfluous” arguing the issue is already covered in the Environment Act and new Environmental Improvement Plan. “For that reason, we will accept his amendment, because it sits within the actions that we are taking and the commitments that we have made,” said Griffith.


Ofwat seeks more detailed reporting on dividends and executive pay

Ofwat is consulting until 3 March on gathering more information from companies on dividends and executive pay in annual performance reporting (APR) from 2022-23 onwards.

The regulator wants detail on the requirement for companies to: demonstrate how dividends paid take account of the interests of customers; and explain how any performance related executive pay award is justified in the context of company performance overall.

Elsewhere in the consultation, Ofwat made housekeeping changes and requested some entirely new information, including on more transparent disclosures related to swaps and pensions; the enhancement expenditure associated with the replacement/upgrade of existing meters with smarter technology; and expanded reporting on greenhouse gas emissions.

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