Defra Ready To Begin Water Consultation On Islands

desalination plant signDefra says they plan to start consultation on proposed changes to water legislation “imminently.” At the moment, Scilly is excluded from several Acts of Parliament related to water supply and management.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate and the Environment Agency have no enforcement powers here, which means residents and visitors don’t enjoy the same level of public health and environmental protection available elsewhere in the country.

New EU laws mean that won’t be allowed in the future and last August the government announced that it intends to bring Scilly into line with the rest of England.

Confusion over the Council’s hosepipe ban introduced at the start of this month has brought the issue back into focus, after the Authority tried to use legislation that doesn’t apply here.

Bringing the islands into line with existing laws, many designed around large privatised water companies, is likely to be complicated.

The Council-run water authority on St Mary’s and Bryher is the only public-sector water utility left in England.

On St Martin’s and St Agnes, the Duchy is responsible, while Tresco Estate manages its own supply.

Scilly has received significant funding from Defra over the last few years for water improvement projects. The LEP also pledged to look at a long term solution for the island’s ageing sewerage infrastructure as part of the government’s ‘Growth Deal’ funding, which is managed by the LEP.

A government spokesperson said the 12-week consultation will be led by Defra and will be in the form of a questionnaire.



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