Environment Agency Free Hotline Service to Previously Exempt Abstractors  
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April 25, 2019

The Environment Agency has announced that it is providing a hotline service, to help you with drafting your new authorisation application now that previously exempt water abstractions require licensing for legal continuity.

Historically, taking water from the environment for certain uses such as trickle and from certain exempt areas could be done without a licence. They are called ‘exempt activities’. Regulations implemented on the 1st January 2018 removed these exemptions from trickle irrigators, wetland water intake owners, quarries de-watering, drainage boards, canal and port operators and the Crown estates, etc.  They are now required to submit an application to the EA for a water resources abstraction licence to continue lawfully.

The Environment Agency is committed to helping these previously exempt abstractors get their application forms completed before the deadline closes to ensure that you can benefit from the Transitional Arrangements that are in place. It anticipates a peak in applications this spring ahead of the 1 October 2019 administrative deadline. Any late or invalid applications which do not meet the requirement of the new regulations could leave your business without the water it has depended on and therefore seriously impact on your business. Leaving it too close to the deadline limits the opportunity for your application to be turned around and corrected in time, if it lacks any critical information to meet the transitional regulatory requirements. Applications that miss or are outside of the Transitional Arrangements will forgo the benefits of the light controls entry they provide and be substantially more restricted in water, their allocation or even be refused if in an already fully abstracted catchment – as so many now are in the growing areas.

We strongly urge you to get your applications in now, ahead of the rush and certainly well before 1 October which will allow the Environment Agency sufficient time to work with you to remedy any problems with your application. That’s leaves you with just 5 months remaining – That’s tight and increases the risk for such a core commodity to your businesses – The time to act is clearly now!

Speaking with Ian Johnson the Environment Agency’s Lead Manager on New Authorisations – he explained that there is a dedicated Hotline that gets people straight to the Permitting Officers, who while time allows, will help new authorisations’ applicants with answers to any queries and better still assist you in completing your application form.

Its first come –first served and to help further, the Environment Agency is also providing bookable appointments so there is an undisturbed slot of your choosing to get your application drafted with experts leading you through it.  Ian explained that “it is a huge task for us, but by making it easy for previously exempt applicants to access the officers’ advice and expertise, we are helping farming businesses to secure their water rights for the future”.

The Transitional Arrangements provide a highly attractive way into regulation. They allow the Environment Agency to base the licence on the water used in the 7 years qualifying period with only minimal constraints for very low flows or groundwater levels. It would be a real mistake to miss this, as many areas are already fully licensed, so no new licences are available by any other means and businesses would otherwise risk being left without water. The Environment Agency expects businesses will take note of the reminder, use the free Hotline and Bookable appointments, and not take the risks of delay and apply now!

To use the new free hotline and bookable appointments service today call the Environment Agency on 03708 506506 or email them at enquiries@environment‐agency.gov.uk as soon as possible.

If you need support, Envireau Water are the leaders in the New Authorisation licensing process. Contact us today on 01332 871 882 or info@envireauwater.co.uk to see how we can help!