Ofwat consults on sustainable development

The water industry regulator seeks views on how it can best work towards sustainability, and help ensure that "the quality of life of future generations is not compromised."

A consultation document, initially sent out to 180 organisations, gives Ofwat’s definition of sustainable development, outlines how the regulator can contribute to sustainability, and identifies key issues in this work for the 2009 price review and beyond.

Key policy areas identified in the document include a drive towards long-term planning in industry, a climate change impact policy, ensuring that the polluter pays, that industry can finance investments while water bills stay affordable, and the implementation of the Water Framework Directive.

“We aim to provide incentives to companies to deliver a world-class service that represents best value both now and into the long-term future. We see our goal of securing value in the broadest sense as key to delivering our sustainable development duty effectively,” the document reads.

Working towards sustainable development was added to Ofwat’s statutory duties by the 2003 Water Act.

Ofwat’s Director General Philip Fletcher said: “We welcome this new duty, and want to engage positively with our stakeholders in developing our approach.”

“Our task is to promote value for consumers, not just in the narrow sense of their water bills, but also in the wider sense of value for the environment, for achieving social objectives and for the economy. Our emphasis will be on rigorous analysis to achieve optimal outcomes over the longer term.”

The Water Services Regulation Authority, which absorbs Ofwat’s role as economic regulator after April 1, will be dealing with the response to the consultation and using it to inform its future approach.

By Goska Romanowicz

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