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Water UK responds to publication of National Infrastructure Strategy

Water UK welcomes the publication of the National Infrastructure Strategy and, in particular, the Government’s commitment to adopting a long-term approach to investment.

Given the challenges facing the sector in the years to come it is vital that we continue to invest to ensure our services remain resilient and we can continue to deliver for both our customers and the environment.

Water companies are investing £50 billion over the next five years to drive jobs, innovation and support SMEs in the supply chain and are clear that long-term investment can be achieved while simultaneously keeping customer bills low.

We strongly welcome the launch of the National Infrastructure Bank. Water supplies are acutely affected by the changing climate, so its emphasis on projects to reduce emissions is extremely welcome.

The Government must set a remit for the bank that extends to supporting the infrastructure we need to adapt to climate change, including flooding and drought, which in turn also helps deliver on the levelling up agenda.

We also agree that the framework for economic regulation needs updating to address 21st century challenges – and welcome the Government’s commitment to taking a long-term approach to investment to provide predictability and the required stability, as well as appropriate incentives to investors.

The National Infrastructure Strategy makes a welcome commitment to strengthen our resilience to drought. It is important that Government now goes further and uses the passage of the Environment Bill to introduce a statutory water reduction target as well as mandatory water efficiency labelling on white goods and stricter building regulations, in order to help reduce water consumption.

Water companies are playing their part and have cut leakage from pipes by 7% this year and have pledged to halving it by 2050. We also are delivering plans to reduce, by a fifth, the average amount of water used per person by 2050.