Nottingham City Council granted water self-supply licence

The licence comes into effect on 14 August

Administered by regulator Ofwat, the self-supply licence is the first to be given to a UK council. It will enable the local authority to buy water directly from Severn Trent at wholesale rates. This responsibility will sit with its energy services team and will begin on 14 August.

Nottingham City Council estimates that switching to self-supply will cut £64,000 off its annual utility bills while boosting resource efficiency.

To complement the move, the local authority is also launching a water efficiency loan scheme across its estate. The scheme will be used to fit water-saving measures in council buildings and is predicted to generate a further £6,400 of savings in its first year.

Nottingham City Council insists that all savings generated through the loan scheme and its self-supply switch will be used to protect “front-line services” for local residents.

“The development of Nottingham City Council’s water self-supply licence provides a fantastic opportunity to broaden and strengthen our experience in the energy sector; making business and financial sense,” Nottingham City Council’s head of energy services Wayne Bexton said.

“We are extremely proud to be the first council who will run its own water service in-house. The reduction of operating costs for the council, allows us to share the benefits with our citizens by investing in further innovative projects to better our services, and the move supports our wider ambition of becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2028.”

Self-supply shift

More companies are switching to self-supply to better manage their water use, since the water retail market opened in April 2017.

Ofwat has granted licences to Greene King, Whitbread, Marston’s, Kellogg’s, Coca Cola European Partners, BT and Heineken amongst others.

Greene King revealed last year that the switch to self-supply had enabled the company to reduce its water footprint by more than 140,000m3 since April 2017. Daily, Greene King has realised 384.32m3 in consumption savings – the equivalent of 676,313 pints. Four hospitality giants (Greene King, Whitbread, Marston’s and Stonegate Pub Company) have together saved 392,315m3 since they switched to self-supply – the equivalent of more than 690 million pints.

However, Nottingham City Council’s licence is the first to be granted to a local authority, meaning it has spurred a wave of interest from other councils across the nation. 

Brighton and Hove City Council, for example, is currently facing pressure from its Green Party members to apply for a water self-supply licence. The Party claims that such a move would generate £194,000 in savings over a three-year period while minimising water consumption and improving customer service.

Sarah George

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