Government Launches Consultation Into New Water Legislation For Scilly

desalination plant signThe government has launched a major consultation into its proposals to bring Scilly in-line with existing national water legislation.

Many of the current environmental and water laws in England, such as the Water Industry, Water Resources and Environment Acts don’t apply to the islands.

Defra says that means residents and visitors aren’t enjoying the same level of health protection as people in the rest of England.

It also means the UK government could be fined by Brussels for breaking EU directives.

Defra says the changes will ensure the correct procedures and tests are in place to check that our drinking water is healthy. It will also make sure that the island’s sewerage system is operated in the most environmentally friendly way.

However, the changes won’t just affect the Council, which supplies and treats water on St Mary’s and Bryher. There will also be implications for Tresco Estate and the Duchy, which manage these on St Martin’s and St Agnes.

And there’s likely to be significant costs associated with bringing the islands’ infrastructure up to mainland standards.

The government says there are “a number of options” that need to be considered to pay for this including the Council raising funds locally, through central government or European grants or even privatisation of water on the islands.

But Defra says no decision has been made on what proportion of the costs, if any, will be passed onto the bill payer.

You can give your views online here and the survey will be open until 12th February.

Defra hopes to bring in the new legislation by next autumn.