Water level management authorities across the country are continuing to raise concerns the threat of licence fee hikes could end up hitting farmers’ pockets, following recent changes to water abstraction regulations.
New regulations for water transfer licencing, which came into force from January 1, 2018, requires the transfer of water from main rivers into internal drainage districts to be licenced by the Environment Agency.
The Environment Agency has estimated that around 150 licences will be required collectively by internal drainage boards (IDB), each costing £1,500.
The new legislation could see landowners effectively charged twice for the same water, as internal drainage boards will most likely need to pass additional fees on to ratepayers, according to the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA).
Innes Thomson, ADA chief executive says: “This will add an expense and bureaucratic burden that will stifle effective close working between risk management authorities on water resources and environmental management. ADA is simply seeking treatment of IDBs as responsible water managers playing their vital part in working with the EA rather than being treated as businesses using the water.”