Private sewers transfer becomes law

Today (July 1) the regulations for the transfer of private sewers come into force with the transfer scheduled to take place on 1 October 2011.

Environment minister Richard Benyon made the announcement today, highlighting the benefits for householders.

The changes will see the ownership of private sewers, that run under peoples’ property, gardens or in the road, and connect to the public sewer system, move from the homeowner to the water companies.

This will remove a burden from householders that has long been viewed as unfair and unreasonable and will mean that water companies will take over the responsibility of repairing collapsed and blocked sewers from 1 October 2011.

Richard Benyon said: “The transfer will stop the financial threat of customers being hit with huge repair bills for sewers that sometimes aren’t even on their property.

“It’s a much fairer and simpler approach which will also improve the overall quality of the network to reduce the chance of problems in the first place.”

Individual water companies will now start to communicate to their customers what the new arrangements will involve for them. This is likely to mean a small rise in bills to cover the cost.

Pamela Taylor, Water UK’s Chief Executive, said: “The transfer promises to bring peace of mind to customers across England and Wales.

“For the water companies, the transfer is a major change as they will be taking on responsibility for many thousands of miles of pipes, some of which may be in poor condition. There could well be a backlog of maintenance, repair and renewal for companies to tackle.”

Alison Brown

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