Scilly To Be Brought Into Line With National Water Laws

desalination plant signThe government has announced that it intends to bring the Isles of Scilly into line with existing laws covering water supply and sewerage in England.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate and the Environment Agency have no enforcement powers in relation to water here.

It means residents and visitors don’t enjoy the same level of public health and environmental protection that’s available elsewhere in the country.

Defra says it’ll introduce legislation in 2014 to add provisions to the relevant Acts of Parliament.

A Defra spokesperson said they want to make sure residents have the same standards of good quality drinking water as the rest of England, and protect the local environment.

They intend to take a ‘light touch approach’ and apply the new rules in a way that’s applicable to Scilly.

They’ll consult widely on any proposals this autumn, before deciding on the final approach.

The islands are currently excluded from much of the legislation, including the Water Industry Act, the Water Resources Act and the Environment Act.

It’s partly because the water and sewerage on St Mary’s and Bryher are still in public hands, rather than being run by privatised companies, as they are on the mainland.

The Council’s Community Relations Officer, George Pearson, told us that they have a good relationship with Defra, the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate and have always reacted positively to any recommendations they’ve made.

He added that Defra has already provide significant funding for improvements on the islands, including the new desalination plant, the complete rebuilding of Buzza reservoir, and substantial upgrading works to the water supply on Bryher.