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Home > News > Water abstraction exemptions to end

Water abstraction exemptions to end

2nd Nov 2017 / By Alistair Driver

Licensing exemptions for for the remaining significant abstractions come to an end at the end of this year.

Following consultations, the UK and Welsh Governments have sets out their 'revised light-touch approach to bring significant exempt water abstractions into the licensing system'.

While responses go the consultation were 'generally supportive', they also provided valuable criticism and advice to help inform the final approach for ending the exemptions. Ending significant exemptions will help the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales improve water resources management by making abstractors’ rights to water fairer and protecting the water environment, Defra said.

It is now laying Statutory Instruments to make these changes, which will open a two year abstraction licence application window on 1 January 2018

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies pointed out that the changes do not impact on the derogation for those using less than 20ma day. Anyone who is using more than that will need to apply for a licence, although this has always been the case, she said.

The Government response and the consultation documents are available here

The Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales plan further communications with abstractors who need to apply, including issuing guidance. 

To find out more you can contact the Environment Agency’s National Customer Contact Centre on: 03708 506 506 or 

Abstractors in Wales can contact Natural Resources Wales’ Customer Care Centre on: 0300 065 3000 or