A Bumper Crop of Abstraction Licences for Envireau Water
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February 16, 2015

Over recent months we have gained approval for a number of new and renewal abstraction licences in both the agriculture and quarrying industries. As is often the case, the approval process isn’t always straight forward as the following examples show.

A quarrying company required a groundwater abstraction licence for mineral washing and dust suppression, which raised concerns from the local parish council that the new groundwater abstraction would impact a local spring which feeds a nearby brook. Despite the submission of a conceptual model and data analysis from test pumping showing that the well would not be impacted, the Environment Agency wished to stipulate unnecessary groundwater monitoring of the well as part of the licence conditions. The inclusion of monitoring as a licence condition would have been problematic as the spring was not on the quarry’s land and therefore would have been difficult to control. However, by being able to review the draft abstraction licence and to discuss technical and regulatory issues in detail, we were able to successfully negotiate the removal of the monitoring condition prior to the determination of the licence, thereby avoiding a lengthy appeal process.

An application for an abstraction licence close to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) can often be problematic, so when a new irrigation licence was required in East Yorkshire in an area with an SSSI associated with a local river, we were asked to help. There were also a number of other abstractors in the area so the Environment Agency required a robust schedule of monitoring to allay their concerns regarding the impact of the new licence on these abstractors. We collected water level data from five locations during the test pumping period and the analysis of this good quality, high frequency data was able to show the Environment Agency and Natural England that there was no detrimental effect on the river or to the other abstractors and that the licence could be granted, without any monitoring conditions.

These examples show that with the right approach, high quality data analysis, and a thorough understanding of the regulations, obstacles can be overcome and licences achieved.

If you are planning an abstraction or discharge, then Envireau Water can guide and steer you through the regulatory process to a satisfactory outcome.