EA urges Yorkshire Water to re-examine long term planning

The Environment Agency (EA) has called on Yorkshire Water to take another detailed look at its long term planning for water resources in view of the company's bid to buy York Waterworks plc.

The bid, subject to shareholder approval, will mean a reduction in customer bills by 15 per cent, which will come into effect no later than April 1, 2004. Commenting Jonson Cox, managing director of Yorkshire Water Services, said: “We believe that we can further improve already high standards of customer services in York and surrounding area and at the same time reduce customer bills. We already provide wastewater services in York and district, so the reality is that York Waterworks’ customers are already our customers albeit for different services.”

The EA says that the proposed change of ownership of York Waterworks may well have implications for the future provision of water supplies and rivers across Yorkshire. Before making any decision on the application for new abstraction licences on the rivers Wharfe, Ure and Ouse following the expiry in May of temporary licences granted in 1995-6, the Agency is looking to York Waterworks to provide further information.

Roger Hyde, EA’s regional general manager for the North East said: “York Waterworks currently has a licence to abstract from the River Ouse which allows them to abstract more than they need to supply the people and businesses in York. This surplus could now be utilised by Yorkshire Water, but the sustainability of this will need to be considered. This is a valuable asset for Yorkshire Water and it needs to be fully taken into account in the company’s long term planning for water resources needs.”

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