Envireau Water Success with Abstraction Licence Dispensations
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August 31, 2018

Through July and August, Envireau Water has been working to help irrigators get abstraction licence dispensations from the Environment Agency (EA) as part of their response to the extreme hot dry weather. Envireau Water has been successful in obtaining dispensations for all the applications that we have made on the River Wye in Herefordshire; in Shropshire, Suffolk and Nottinghamshire.

We are also assisting the NFU in disseminating information and working with them and the EA in identifying learnings from the experience.

While recent rainfall and falling temperatures has certainly helped, there are still areas and crops under stress and water may still need to be obtained for lifting root crops.

As a reminder, while the dispensation regime is operating:

  • Farmers may be able to trade water allowances, as set out in their abstraction licence, on a short-term basis, without the need to formally apply change their licence.
  • The EA can fast-track new sustainable temporary licences for abstractions that take place for less than 28 days.
  • The EA might be able to facilitate use of spare capacity in water company licences by other abstractors where sustainable.
  • The EA can review hands off flow conditions more frequently to allow abstractors to take advantage of any peak flows when significant rainfall occurs.
  • In severe cases where there is a real or imminent threat to crops and/or livestock, the EA may temporarily allow additional, emergency 48 hour abstraction while alternative supplies are found.
  • It is important to note that any flexible arrangements will be one-off and limited to this dry weather event. If any abstraction outside a licence is likely to need to re-occur, licence holders must apply to vary the licence at the earliest opportunity.
  • Any arrangements are agreed through the EA local area teams, who will need to be satisfied that the request is legitimate and that there will not be any adverse effects on the environment or the rights of other lawful water users.
  • The EA have been stepping up compliance checks on abstraction licences to ensure that abstractors keep to their licences and any agreed flexible arrangements.

What is Envireau Water doing right now?

Envireau Water has already successfully been supporting clients to get the water that they need and has been in detailed discussions with various EA local area teams about appropriate decision making. We are aware that not all applications that have been made have been successful and that where dispensation has been granted, some of the terms have in our opinion been inappropriate. It is important when applying for a dispensation to present an appropriate justification and negotiate the right conditions. The EA have done a very good job in turning applications round quickly under very difficult circumstances and in a situation which is entirely new. Everyone has gone up a steep learning curve.

How can Envireau Water help you?

Envireau Water has over 20 years’ experience of water management and our team is renowned for designing, negotiating and securing permission for innovative licensing solutions with the Environment Agency. We can assure you that where there is just cause, our good reputation, strong relationships and wealth of experience ensures the strongest possible case is presented with every option explored to ensure a successful outcome. Get in touch on 01332 871 882 or info@envireauwater.co.uk to see how we can support you.