The demand came in response to a DETR consultation paper on competition in the water industry. Welcoming the prospect of full competition, the water industry says the DETR consultation paper is a welcome step forward, but it needs to be followed by immediate action with a definite timetable and a realistic framework. However, Water UK recommends that Government intervention should be limited to setting up a framework.

UK water says the Government needs a coherent strategy on competition for the industry. “Water UK would like to see a sound legislative framework for the introduction of competition in place within a year,” said Pamela Taylor, Chief Executive, Water UK. “We will be pushing the Government hard on this.”

Water UK’s main responses are:

  • that competition must benefit all, and not just large business users
  • that the need for new legislation should be placed at the top of the Government’s agenda. Water UK says all new entrants must be licensed in a similar way to existing water companies
  • that existing legislation should be altered because present laws mean that the large business user alone is likely to benefit from competition
  • that arguments for the ability of common carriage to bring down costs to the customer are not strong enough to justify the cost of the introduction of common carriage
  • that the Government’s specific proposals to introduce competition in water resources and mains connections could put security of supply and customers’ health at risk if the appropriate measures were not in place. The Government must address this issue, Water UK says

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