Government consultation on water abstraction and licensing

The Government has published consultation proposals to modernise the process of applying to the Environment Agency for water abstraction licences.


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The 2003 Water Act made a number of changes to the abstraction and impounding licensing system which has been in place since the 1960s.

The consultation paper explains how the proposed new regulations will deal with:

  • how to apply for an abstraction or impounding licence;

  • how the licence application is handled by the Agency;

  • applications to revoke licences;

  • abstraction and impounding by the Environment Agency; and

  • enforcement, works and conservation notices.

    “We are keen to engage with stakeholders over changes to the abstraction and impounding licensing system,” said Environment Minister Elliot Morley. “Today’s consultation document will inform them about the process and, in particular, about the new proposals concerning publicity for licence applications. I hope all concerned will contribute to ensure we receive the widest possible range of views on this issue.”

    Full details of the consultation can be found through the Defra website or by clicking Water Abstraction Consultation

    David Hopkins

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