The law surrounding water abstraction has recently changed, which is expected to have a huge impact on quarry, mine and construction operators.
Under the rules of the Water Resources Act 1991, operators must now hold a formal licence to legally abstract over 20m3/day for activities that were previously exempt. This includes:
- dewatering of mines,
- dewatering of quarries,
- engineering works; and
- all forms of irrigation.
The changes to the Act is part of the government backed initiative to manage our water resources more effectively and reduce impact on the environment.
“It’s a major shakeup for construction and mining firms as any new license required can take up to four months to secure,” said Andrew Rollo, Head of Energy at land, property and business Group George F. White. “Our team is working with several large and small operators, guiding them through what they need to do and by when so that existing and planned abstraction projects are not affected. Any legal delays can have massive implications for planned projects, at the operator’s expense. We aim to avoid this and ensure applications for the new licence are completed in a timely manner, and operators are fully aware of what is expected of them legally, to avoid unnecessary costs.”
For existing abstraction operations, the Environment Agency has set up transitional arrangements which aim to grant the majority of licences based upon existing requirements. This transitional period runs for two years, from 1 January 2018 until the 31 December 2019. To apply under these transitional arrangements, operators will need to demonstrate the validity of their abstraction requirements and that abstraction has taken place within the previous seven years.
To discuss the changes to legislation in more detail, and how it affects your current projects, please contact Andrew Rollo on email@example.com or alternatively call 01665 603 231.
Earlier today is was announced that Michael Gove intended to change the way in which subsidies were distributed across the UK. Mr Gove described Brexit as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform how we care for our land, our rivers and our seas, how we recast our ambition for our country’s environment, and the planet”, with this in mind he is looking for farmers to only get payouts if they agree to protect the environment and enhance rural life.
(Read full BBC article here)
Commenting on Gove’s speech, George F. White Partner, Louis Fell said:
“We all know that change is going to happen and undoubtedly those claiming very large payments will be under scrutiny, especially those that in reality are not actively farming day to day. We have concerns though that there is conflict between storage of flood water and producing food and protecting asset value. We also are concerned that the environmentalists will see this as an opportunity to create such tight regulations that producing food in an economic manner will become impossible.
It’s pleasing that Gove is wanting to continue to support upland farmers. It’s such a fragile environment and, as we have seen in many parts of destocking, the land can easily revert to scrub which completely alters the current landscape that the public currently enjoy and wish to see protected. There is only so much diversification projects and non-farming income that some farmers can earn from their farm and the government must ensure that we don’t see a massive exodus of farmers or farm employees. The industry already struggles to attract really good people and those leading the country must be careful to ensure that they don’t portray a negative image during the next five years of changes.
The industry needs to be braced for change, and we hope that this occurs over a period of time to allow for businesses to adjust and change with the regime – what we don’t want to see is a decline in UK farmers, struggling financially and failing to sustain their farm business.”