Water today, water tomorrow
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Licence simplification

Licence reformThe current instruments of appointment (the licences) were developed more than 20 years ago by the then Department of the Environment when the water industry was privatised. Over the years, some content of the licence has become out of date, and the nature of changes made has meant that current licences are cumbersome, fragmented and lack cohesion.

As part of RD 10/10: Companies' consolidated licences, we shared consolidated licences with companies and asked for comments on how we could simplify and modernise the licences. Taking into account these responses, we have identified:

  • areas of the licences where the drafting uses outdated language, or is unclear, overly complex or inconsistent
  • redundant obligations that
    • relate to the time of privatisation
    • relate to the transitional period immediately following privatisation,
    • have been superseded
  • references to deleted provisions in other parts of the licences
  • similar obligations in multiple different licence conditions, rather than grouped together in a single licence condition (for example ring-fencing provisions in Conditions F, K and P).

What we aim to deliver

Company licences that:

  • are clear, concise and as consistent as possible
  • are effective and appropriate to the kind of regulation we use
  • include minimum standards of service that the companies must deliver

How we will do it

  • Continue working with the companies to agree changes to those elements of their licences that are now obsolete, or that need to be amended as a result of changes in our overall regulatory framework.
  • Simplify and modernise the language.
  • Work with Defra, the companies, developers, self-lay organisations and landowners to develop proposed licence changes to introduce minimum levels of service.
  • Consult on an overall package of proposed licence changes and implement them in agreement with the companies.

We have been working with Defra, the companies, and other stakeholders to identify the changes we need to make.

Further information

If you would like to speak to someone about this project, please contact Alice Maher (alice.mahar@ofwat.gsi.gov.uk or 0121 644 7536).

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