The Environment Bill is clearly a response to Brexit but the text is also beginning to include a wide range of other environmental matters not least concerning water and as such it also represents a major opportunity; for example:

Water Briefing ‘Government says new Environment Bill will aim to deliver sustainable water resources

Defra has published a new policy statement setting out how the government’s Environment Bill will put the environment at the centre of policy making – including how it intends to deliver sustainable water resources. The policy statement says the water measures in the Environment Bill will help to secure long-term, resilient water and wastewater services, including abstraction licensing reform.

The Bill enables the Environment Agency, the environmental regulator, to propose the variation or revocation of abstraction licences without liability for compensation. This is established based on two conditions: 1) if they are causing, or risk causing, considerable environmental damage and / or 2) if they consistently abstract less water than their licensed volume.

The Environment Bill also introduces additional requirements for water company planning for future water supply and wastewater and drainage networks, enabling more resilient solutions to drought and flooding. In order to strengthen the economic water regulator Ofwat’s ability to improve the way water and sewerage companies operate to meet current and future demand for water, the Environment Bill amends the process for modifying the conditions of companies’ licences to operate.

The Environment Bill creates a power to update the lists of substances and their respective standards which are potentially harmful to surface waters and groundwater to ensure regulations protecting water quality are keeping pace with scientific and technical knowledge. According to the policy statement, the Bill will enhance flood and coastal erosion risk management by addressing a current barrier to the expansion of existing, or creation of new, internal drainage boards.’

The Bill is also attracting a wide range of commentary because it will be the first major piece of environmental legislation for many years.

The Commons Library have produced briefing for MPs Click here to see this report including the section on water file:///C:/Users/Jayne/Downloads/CBP-8712%20(3).pdf

The Coalition of NGOs Greener UK have produced a briefing for the 2nd reading

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