Hosepipe Ban Law Doesn’t Apply In Scilly Says Council Email

desalination plant signLast week, the Council said it could fine you £1,000 for using a hosepipe. They paid for adverts in newspapers to warn you.

But it’s now emerged that they had no legal powers to issue that threat. They’ve also not taken steps to inform the community they were wrong.

The community was told that a prolonged spell of dry weather has caused water levels on St Mary’s to fall below normal.

But Radio Scilly has seen an internal email, which reveals that the airport project and re-surfacing of roads also increased water consumption significantly in June and July, the highest level since 2011.

The Council published a notice last Thursday informing St Mary’s residents that they were introducing a temporary ban on hosepipes, using legislation in the Water Industry Act 1991.

But it turns out that the Isles of Scilly is excluded from those laws.

Radio Scilly first emailed Senior Manager for Infrastructure, Craig Dryden, Legal Officer Richard Burraston and Council Chairman Amanda Martin last weekend to point this out and ask whether the ban was enforceable.

The notice placed in newspapers last week by the Council

The notice placed in newspapers last week by the Council

They wouldn’t answer our questions and still haven’t after two further requests. We’ve now had to submit a Freedom of Information request, which could take up to 20 working days.

But on Tuesday afternoon, Craig Dryden emailed all elected members to confirm that the Water Industry Act does not apply to the Isles of Scilly. He said the Council was using “legislative provisions applicable across the rest of England.”

This will be an embarrassment for the Council’s Chief Executive Theo Leisjer, who shortly after starting in the job expressed his desire for this to be a “legal Council.”

At his first public meeting in February he said the local community “should understand what the legal duty of the Authority was, and what they couldn’t do.”

It’s unclear whether the Council will now have to withdraw its notices and explain to residents that the ban and fines are unenforceable.



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