The framework, which will be developed by engineering firm MWH, will be part of UK Water Industry Research’s (UKWIR) project to draw up carbon guidance for the industry.

It will allow companies to calculate the amount of embodied carbon used in, for example, new construction projects such as water treatment plants.

Guidance will also be given on applying a price to carbon to assess the value of the investment over a period of time, which UKWIR hopes will help water companies with future investment decisions.

Consideration of carbon in investments will form part of the PR09 process – a five-yearly price review undertaken by water watchdog Ofwat that sets price limits for water and sewerage companies.

Gordon Wheale, UKWIR project manager, said: “This project is one of a series addressing carbon emission accounting across the water industry, with several companies having already undertaken work on this topic.

“Their experience will be used to inform development of the new framework so the cost of embodied and operational carbon can be combined to provide a whole life cost of carbon measurement for the PR09 planning process – and in such a way that all the companies are using the same measuring process so direct comparisons can be made.”

Last autumn, Ofwat consulted on the proposed changes to the PR09 review process, which also included a requirement for companies to publish a 25-year strategic plan outlining how they will tackle long-term challenges such as climate change.

Chief executive Regina Finn said: “We aim to see a result that delivers best value for consumers and the environment at a fair price.”

The new calculator will be used alongside an existing carbon calculator for emissions generated by day-to-day activities.

Kate Martin

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