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Environmental guidance adds £100M to water work

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ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY Margaret Beckett published final environmental guidance for the water industry this week, adding £100M to the work programme for 2005-2010.

'The main decisions and policies were set out in my principal guidance in March 2004.

With a few adjustments this final guidance confirms those policies, ' said Beckett.

Using this guidance, industry regulator Ofwat approved a five year environmental quality programme worth £3.1bn, in August's draft price limits (NCE 19 August).

With the new guidance, this figure now stands at £3.2bn subject to final price limits being set by Ofwat in December.

New schemes worked in to the 20052010 programme include funding for further investigation into the proposed £2bn Thames sewage interceptor tunnel.

The 100m deep, 22km long tunnel would divert sewage from the river, and channel it under the riverbed and out to sea. Environmental groups say it is the best way to prevent pollution of the Thames.

Thames Water will be able to upgrade wastewater treatment works that discharge into the river.

Water companies have also been told to work with farmers to encourage them to manage their land to reduce diffuse pollution from their fields.

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