Environment Agency Announces Temporary Flexibility of Abstraction Licence Conditions
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August 1, 2018

Here at Envireau Water, we are pleased to learn that the Environment Agency (EA) is supporting farmers to deal with the warm, dry weather that we have been experiencing in the UK, by providing options to flex water abstraction licence conditions.

The full EA guidance is available here, and we have summarised the key points below:

  • 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.
  • Any flexible arrangements will be one-off, 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 will be agreed through the local area teams where the EA is satisfied that there will not be any adverse effects on the environment or the rights of other lawful water users.
  • The EA will continue to carry out 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. Whilst waiting for the guidance to be formally released, our team of water management specialists last week agreed, through liaison with the local area EA team, the flexing of an abstraction condition on a licence in the Anglian region. This gave our client the confidence to make critical and urgent decisions over irrigation timing which not only improves the outlook for this season’s crop but also provides the best possible entry point into next season. We’ve also had success with proposals in the West Midlands.

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.

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