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Water deadlines threatened by late environmental guidance


WATER COMPANIES this week warned that the periodic review timetable will have to be revised due to late running government guidance.

Companies have until April to draw up business plans for the next five year work period.

But they cannot do this without government guidance on the level of environmental legislation to be adhered to within the period.

This information was due to be published in January but it is still under development (NCE 29 January).

Speculation is rife of disagreements within government departments on how big the environmental programme should be.

This week Environment Agency head of environmental quality Andrew Skinner told the Commons environmental audit committee that a restrained programme could put England and Wales in breach of the European Freshwater Fish Directive and the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

Water companies need the guidance to determine their environmental work programme for 2005-10, which feeds into their business plans. Ofwat then uses this information to set price limits applicable from April 2005.

But water companies said they will struggle to get their final business plans in on time.

'It is going to be difficult for some water companies to get their final business plans in, and we have alerted Ofwat to this, ' said Water UK spokesman.

Ofwat said that it will discuss the implications of the guidance with water companies when it is released.

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