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Ofwat extends firms' spending plan deadline

WATER REGULATOR Ofwat has extended deadlines for water companies to submit their final spending plans because of government delays to the publication of vital environmental guidance.

Spending plans are needed so Ofwat can set water charges for the next five year spending period, due to start in the middle of next year.

Before charges are set, water companies must set out how much they need to spend on meeting new water quality standards.

These plans depend on the publication of government environmental guidance.

Environment secretary Margaret Beckett took five weeks longer than expected to issue the guidelines for the 20052010 period.

Further delays are also expected while the Department for the Environment & Rural Affairs 'translates' the general rules into specific project requirements.

Ofwat said this week that the water companies would be given until 30 April to submit final business plans, three weeks later than the original 7 April deadline.

Ofwat is now setting final price limits on 2 December Water UK said this week that it was 'content the approach has been pretty sensible and the dates are realistic'.

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