EFRA This inquiry was launched following the Government’s publication of a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) for Water Resources Infrastructure. It sets out the government’s policy for development of nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) for water resources in England.

  • Read the conclusions and recommendations
  • Read the summary
  • Read the full report

The National Infrastructure Commission has recommended increasing the capacity of the water supply system by 4,000 million litres per day by taking a twin-track approach of managing demand and increasing supply.The Committee agrees that an NPS should act as part of a twin-track approach to meeting the drought resilience challenge. However, this Report recommends that any NPS should include a requirement for water companies to demonstrate that they have a clear plan to alleviate the need for new supply through ambitious demand management, leakage reduction and catchment-based approaches as appropriate. The Committee suggests that only if such a transparent, effective plan is present should development consent be granted.

The Report also expresses the Committee’s disappointment that an NPS will not form part of a fully integrated approach to managing water resources until 2024 at the earliest. The Committee would encourage the final NPS to address this issue when it is published by the Government. 

Chair’s comments

Neil Parish MP, the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said:

“This country is currently facing an ever-greater risk of future water shortages and drought, with climate change and an increased population acting as major contributing factors. “We welcome the work already done in this area and the suggested twin-track approach to tackling the risk of an inadequate water supply and strengthening the country’s infrastructure in the coming years.

“Despite this, my Committee wants to see water companies demonstrating how they plan to reduce the need for additional supply by managing demand and alleviating the very real threat of leakage, before they build new reservoirs or other infrastructure. “We made a series of recommendations in our Regulation of the Water Industry Report last year, many of which we feel would help in this area. These included calling on Defra to allow all water companies the power to implement compulsory metering. That way, all companies would have the same tools at their disposal to reduce consumption of water in their regions.”

Click here to read the EFRA Committee report

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