Water UK welcomes today’s announcement by Ian Pearson, the environment minister, that privately-owned sewers will be transferred into the ownership of the nine statutory water and sewerage companies in England.
This decision is a positive move that will help streamline repairs and maintenance in the sewerage network which will in turn provide environmental benefits. It will also make it easier to identify who is responsible when a sewer problem occurs.
Pamela Taylor, Water UK chief executive, said:
“The majority of private sewer owners do not realise they have responsibility for their sewers until something goes wrong, so the move to give water and sewerage companies responsibility will relieve consumers of an unwanted burden.
“With approximately half of all English properties connected to private sewers, a substantial amount of people will benefit from this transfer.”
There will be a cost associated with the transfer of private sewers which will be met by a rise in sewerage bills. At this stage it is too early to tell how much the rise will be. However, Defra estimates it will be between £3 and £11 per annum.
Water UK was a member of the Private Sewers Steering Group and submitted industry comments to Defra. Other members of the Steering Group were Ofwat, The Consumer Council for Water, Communities and Local Government and local authorities.
Water UK will be responding to the government’s public consultation seeking views on how the transfer should be implemented.
Note: The nine statutory water and sewerage companies in England are Thames Water, Anglian Water, Northumbrian Water, Severn Trent Water, South West Water, Southern Water, United Utilities, Wessex Water and Yorkshire Water.