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Water UK's response to the Department for Business and Trade's consultation on strengthening the regulation of the energy, water and telecoms sectors

The UK government is consulting on strengthening the economic regulation of the energy, water and telecoms sectors. 

This follows on from the water industry in England and Wales proposing £96 billion of investment over 2025 to 2030, as part of its business plans for the 2024 price review (PR24), to deliver the environmental improvements that people rightly expect and meet the considerable challenges posed by population growth and climate change. An effective regulatory framework is vital for attracting and sustaining the increased investment that the country urgently needs.

The UK government has set out a number of helpful proposals which we support, such as a new infrastructure needs assessment that looks across sectors and seeks to unblock barriers to investment.

However, we strongly disagree with two proposals, which we believe would have deeply pernicious effects — to change the appeals process and remove Ofwat's financing and resilience duties

If the government seeks to go ahead with either proposal, it must consult fully, supported by robust evidence and a full impact assessment. The government should recognise that even such a consultation may put future investment at risk.

We set out individual responses to specific consultation questions in Appendix 1. For full details, please download our response.