Welsh Water names contractors on renewable energy programme

Welsh Water has named HBS New Energies, Absolute Solar and Wind, Centrica and Anesco as the principal PV contractors to deliver phase 2 of its Glas Advantage Renewable Energy Programme.

The framework will see a combination of ground-mounted, floating and rooftop solar PV systems developed across 21 water and wastewater treatment sites, enabling the company to take a major step towards becoming a world-class, resilient and sustainable water service.

Welsh Water already boasts more than 6MW of solar assets across its portfolio of water treatment facilities but, with an annual energy consumption of 460GWh, its operations require vast amounts of electricity to provide critical water and wastewater services to its service network.

This second phase of solar projects is set to help Welsh Water press ahead with its ambitions to harness more solar power, providing significant inroads to achieving its 30 per cent onsite renewable energy generation target by the end of 2019.

HBS New Energies has been successful in securing two lots from a possible four on the two-year framework. With a total capacity of more than 3.4MWp, the roof- and ground-mounted solar projects will vary in size from 50 kWp up to 1MWp.

Earlier this year, HBS New Energies kickstarted Welsh Water’s latest solar programme, successfully completing phase 1 against tight deadlines and challenging weather conditions.

By retro-fitting a range of roof-integrated and fixed framework PV systems, HBS unlocked the value of unused roof space at five water and wastewater treatment sites. The solar panels are now helping to power the Welsh water utility’s operations with reliable and cost effective zero-carbon electricity.

Its team is now in the process of conducting in-depth feasibility, surveys and coordinating final system designs ready for submission. HBS will be managing every aspect of design, development, supply, construction and operation and maintenance of the solar PV installations.

James Bull, managing director at HBS New Energies, said: “Being appointed as one of Welsh Water’s strategic solar delivery partners is a great achievement for HBS and continues our strategy of working alongside forward-thinking UK water utilities.

“With firm aims to become more self-sufficient in its energy generation, this significant deployment of on-site solar projects will play a key role in helping Welsh Water take control of energy costs and move closer to achieving its carbon reduction target.

“We are looking forward to be partnering once again with Welsh Water and drive forward the next phase of this exciting solar programme.”

 

https://wwtonline.co.uk/news/welsh-water-names-contractors-on-renewable-energy-programme

Drivers have been fined almost £1m for stopping in this yellow box junction near Piccadilly Circus

An ordinary-looking yellow-box junction in front of the world-famous Ritz Hotel has been revealed as a huge cash cow for motoring fines.

Covering three lanes of traffic in Piccadilly’s junction with Berkeley Street, it has single-handedly raised millions of pounds for Westminster Council in recent years.

And sitting about 600 yards from Piccadilly Circus, it is the only yellow-box junction in the whole borough where fines, or Penalty Charge Notices, are handed out.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, the council council said the junction raised £902,980 from 6,946 PCNs in 2016/17 ― the equivalent of £2,473 every day.

However the number of fines issued at the junction ― where drivers are penalised for stopping in the yellow grid ― has been falling each year.

In 2017/18, there were 6,416 PCNs issued to motorists at the junction, raising £834,080.

Then in 2018/19, it fell to 4,595 fines, providing £597,350 for the council’s coffers.

The council argues that the junction often suffers from “inconsiderate drivers” who block the turning, and that the yellow-box has helped ease congestion.

Last month it was revealed that Westminster Council made £16.5 million from 313,000 PCNs in the 2018 calendar year, earning more than every local authority up and down the country.

Bad parking, using bus lanes, stopping in yellow-box junctions, and turning right and no-turn junctions, are all common offences that millions of motorists caught out by councils’ security cameras.

The council also named Oxendon Street, a side road adjacent to the Prince of Wales Theatre, as the location where more PCNs (5,030) were issued than anywhere else in the borough in 2018/19.

Many London councils justify the huge figures by using the cash for road maintenance. Unlike councils in the rest of England, they do not receive Government funding to spend on fixing the capital’s highways – 95 per cent of which are looked after by London’s 32 councils.

Last month, a report by the London Councils group said: “In 2018/19 alone, London authorities spent £96.8 million on carriageways, £83.6 million on structures, £76.3 million on footways, and £67.3 million on lighting.”

Westminster council deputy leader Tim Mitchell, said: “Inconsiderate drivers blocking this junction cause congestion which disrupts the lives of people travelilng through the city.

“Since we started enforcement action in the area we have seen a significant reduction in those breaking the rules – easing congestion on Piccadilly, one of London’s busiest roads.

“The camera will be moved to another location when the number of driving offences on the junction falls to an acceptable level.

“With over a million daily visitors and many of the country’s biggest attractions it would be a surprise if Westminster wasn’t at the top of the list for PCNs. All of the money we raise through parking is reinvested in transport schemes including green schemes like our schools clean air fund and our diesel surcharge – which has led to a 16 per cent reduction in older diesel vehicles entering the city.”

https://www.highwaysindustry.com/drivers-have-been-fined-almost-1m-for-stopping-in-this-yellow-box-junction-near-piccadilly-circus/

North of England leaders demand ‘Northern Budget’ to boost region

Key leaders from across the North of England have called for Government commitment to a ‘Northern Budget’ which could be used to deliver a boost to the region’s infrastructure.

The call has been backed by board members of Transport for the North (TfN), and asks the new Government to deliver on commitments previously promised to the region’s more than 15 million people as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

Northern leaders have suggested that this budget could help the North’s economic fortunes flourish.

Chancellor Sajid Javid announced just days ago a fast-tracked spending round for Government departments for the next year.

As part of the call, leaders from the North have asked for a commitment to three core ‘asks’ in order to get the bare essential in better transport infrastructure in the short, medium and long-term.

Those core commitments included:

  • A £7bn Northern Infrastructure Pipeline – a list of shovel-ready road and rail projects to be delivered by the mid-2020s.
  • Building the full £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) network by 2040.
  • A £1bn for TfN over the next three years to deliver on its vision, including funding for the development of Northern Powerhouse Rail and other road and rail schemes.

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already pledged to boost infrastructure in the North by delivering a new high-speed rail line between Manchester and Leeds.

Barry White, chief executive of Transport for the North, said: “The North is now at the top of the national political agenda, with promises to balance out the UK’s economy and unleash our potential by better connecting our towns and cities.

“We now need a Northern Budget to make both the shovel-ready projects and the ambitious longer-term programmes like Northern Powerhouse Rail a reality.

“Closing the productivity gap between North and South is essential if we’re to compete on a global stage – but the North’s constrained by creaking infrastructure.

“Whilst the Government is planning for a one-year spending round for its departments against a Brexit backdrop, there is no reason why we can’t see real commitment and recognition of the ambitious pipeline of infrastructure investments the North so badly needs.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, added: “Government may look different, but our ‘asks’ are not.

“We’re consistent and focussed in our plan for what infrastructure the north needs to unlock its full potential, not just for its own benefit, but for the whole UK.

“A ‘Northern Budget’ would be the ultimate demonstration of commitment.”

http://www.railtechnologymagazine.com/Rail-News/north-england-northern-budget

Highways England teams weigh in with one tonne donation for food banks

Food banks coping with the increasing number of families in crisis over the school holidays have been given more than one tonne of food and essential items by teams working on Highways England schemes.

Almost 1000kg of items was collected by the teams taking care of motorways and main A roads across the East Midlands while workers carrying out the widening of the A500 in Staffordshire delivered 37kg of goods to help people in need and are continuing to collect.

From tinned goods to pasta and rice, to tea bags and toilet rolls, a shopping list of foods desperately needed by food banks for the emergency parcels was collected.

The donations came as the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest food bank provider, revealed a 20 per cent increase in the number of food parcels going to children over the summer holidays last year.

Recent figures from the trust showed that 87,496 food parcels went to children in the UK during the summer break in 2018, 20 per cent up on the same period in 2017.

And the Trussell Trust expects demand this year to be as high as families who are entitled to free school meals during term time feel the extra financial pressure over the summer break.

To help those in local communities who risk going hungry this summer, staff from Highways England and the East Midlands Asset Delivery (EMAD) partnership organised collections at offices across the region – covering Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.

The huge collection weighing almost one tonne included 156 tins of baked beans, 170 tins of tuna, 90 bags of pasta, 139 jars of cooking sauces, 155 tins of vegetables, 40 boxes of tea bags, 79 toilet rolls and over 300 nappies. The collections were divided up to go to three food banks in the region.

Highways England Assistant Contract Collaboration Manager Nicola Tomlinson said:

“This fantastic contribution from all of our suppliers really does take working collaboratively to the next level. I’m astounded by the generosity of the workforces and hope our donation will make a big difference to families in communities across our region.”

Kay Fleming, Framework Manager for nmcn, said “I’ve never seen so many tins of beans and I used to work in a shop! I’m so proud of the East Midlands’ Customer and People team who promoted this worthwhile cause.”

Meanwhile in Staffordshire, members of the Highways England and Osborne A500 Etruria Widening Team recently dropped off a delivery of food to the Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank, part of the Trussell Trust network.

The A500 is being widened from two to three lanes in both directions between Porthill (A5271) and Wolstanton (A527) as part of a £17.5 million upgrade.

A collection box has been set up at the site office for food donations and the first delivery was made just before the schools broke up for summer. Collections will now continue over the duration of the scheme, due to finish autumn 2020.

Kimberley Wild, Osborne Performance Manager, said:

“We continue to try to find opportunities to engage and help local communities where possible, particularly when we are effectively part of the community for a period of time, through our work. We hope that the food bank will be successful and help support the community.”

Nigel Webster, from the Bulwell and Bestwood Foodbank in Nottingham, thanked EMAD for their donation and told how stocks were running low this time of year while Gareth Duffield, the Trussell Trust’s Area Manager for Birmingham and Northern Counties, added:

“We’re so glad food banks in our network could benefit from the collection organised by Highways England to help support people facing crisis. We have seen a record demand in food bank use in the past decade, with more and more people struggling to afford the basics. This isn’t right.

“We’re continually blown away by people’s support to provide emergency help, and ultimately work towards a future without hunger and poverty.”

https://www.highwaysindustry.com/highways-england-teams-weigh-in-with-one-tonne-donation-for-food-banks/

Wherry Lines signalling modernisation work announced

Network Rail has announced planned engineering work to be undertaken in Norfolk, as part of a modernisation programme on the Wherry Lines between Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

The planned engineering work, due to take place in February 2020, will see passengers benefit from a significant upgrade in reliability and safety when a digitally-enabled signalling system is installed and goes live.

Modernisation works on the line are expected to take 23 days.

Currently the line operates with mechanical Victorian semaphore signals – some of the oldest in the country – which are now set to be replaced with a modern, computerised signalling system. Plans for the modernisation of the route’s signalling system have been in the pipeline for some time now, with a date finally set.

Network Rail is committed to bringing all of its assets into the digital age and ensuring a safer environment for passengers and rail workers, as well as improving passenger experience, providing better live passenger information and quicker recovery if the system fails.

The new signalling system will be controlled from the Colchester Rail Operating Centre.

As part of the works, the signals will be switched on and six level crossings at Brundall, Cantley, Lingwood Chapel Road, Lingwood Station Road, Oulton Broad North and Strumpshaw will be upgraded to full barriers with remotely controlled CCTV which will improve safety for level crossing users.

Network Rail have also rescheduled repairs and renewals work to coincide with the closure, including a full bridge replacement at Postwick and track renewals at Lowestoft, Acle and Hassingham. The bridge at Postwick has come to the end of its life, and a new bridge structure will be installed that is designed to last 120 years.

Additional maintenance works will be carried out to Reedham and Somerleyton swing bridges to improve reliability of services by upgrading the current detection systems which have been in use since the mid-1940s.

In order to complete the re-signalling and renewals plans, the 23 days of work will be carried out over three phases starting at the beginning of February 2020, and will affect passenger services on the line during those times.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: ““We will deliver a large package of railway upgrade works for passengers across the Wherry lines during just over a three-week period in February 2020.

“I’m sorry that 23 days of engineering works will be difficult for passengers but completing these large-scale projects and maintenance in one coordinated effort, will help reduce the overall amount of disruption and deliver a safer, modern and reliable railway for many years to come.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, added: ”We are sorry to customers for the inconvenience that this engineering work causes them, but we will make sure they can still complete their journeys, even if some of it is by bus.

“By carrying out the work in a 23-day block, Network Rail is able to complete the work sooner and quicker with fewer weekend works.

“Along with Network Rail, we are transforming the railway in Norfolk, and this major upgrade, combined with our new trains, is bringing it into the 21st century.

railtechnologymagazine.com/Rail-News/wherry-lines-modernisation

Water companies to plant 11 million new trees

Water companies in England have announced plans to plant 11 million trees as part of a wider commitment to improve the natural environment and achieve their goal of a carbon-neutral water industry by 2030.

The joint proposals will see trees planted on around 6,000 hectares of land across England together with work to restore original woodland and improve natural habitats that themselves provide carbon capture.

While some of this land is owned by the water companies themselves, additional land will be provided by partners such as the National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB.

Local partnerships with councils and regional NGOs will ensure that projects include urban tree planting, to bring much needed health and wellbeing benefits to communities in towns and cities.

In addition, The Woodland Trust has agreed to work with all the water companies to help identify sites and manage the planting programme once it is developed.

Many water companies already work with charities on habitat improvement and regional planting programmes but this initiative will see those local partnerships taken to a national level to ensure that the industry achieves its aims. Water companies will also look to join forces with existing initiatives such as the National Forest and Northern Forest.

The plan builds on a strong track record in habitat conservation and tree planting by the water industry.

For example, United Utilities has already planted around 800,000 trees since 2005 and is committed to a further 440,000 in the next five years, primarily across urban environments. Severn Trent has planted over 500,000 trees since 2015 and plans are in place for 250,000 trees to be planted in the next five years.

In addition, Anglian Water has plans to plant a million trees, hedging plants and shrubs in urban areas, as part of a 25-year initiative.

The companies, including the nine major water and sewerage providers in England, have committed to fully deliver the habitat improvement programme, which will include hedgerows and grasslands as well as trees. The scheme will provide ‘nature corridors’ to offer significant biodiversity benefits as different habitats are connected.

Companies are also committed to ensuring their plans align with government tree planting and habitat improvement programmes and has already had discussions with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, including through the Government Tree Champion Sir William Worsley.

The industry already has plans in place to plant the first 2.5 million of the 11 million trees. The next priority will be to identify additional sites across England that are appropriate for tree planting or habitat restoration.

“I welcome this pledge from England’s water companies, who have clearly seen the value in planting trees and acknowledged the vital role they will play in helping us to reach net zero emissions by 2050,” Sir William Worsley said.

“Trees are carbon sinks, provide crucial habitats for precious wildlife, mitigate flood risk and provide a valuable renewable resource in timber – and I encourage other industries to follow Water UK’s excellent example to ensure we boost planting rates across the country.”

Richard Flint, chief executive of Yorkshire Water, which are helping to coordinate the project, said: “As an industry, the water sector is committed to fighting climate change through becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

“Our ambitious pledge announced today will go a long way to meeting that target, and will also deliver greater biodiversity, improved water quality and better flood protection. In recent years water companies in England have made significant contributions towards tackling some of the greatest environmental challenges that we face, and today’s announcement is just the latest example of that commitment to the environment.”

Michael Roberts, chief executive of Water UK, said: “Water companies play a unique role in running a vital public service and acting as long-term stewards of our natural environment.

“The trees they plant today will be a testament in years to come of the sector’s ground-breaking Public Interest Commitment, which goes beyond regulatory compliance and which, with the support of our partners, will deliver real social and environmental progress.”

John Tucker, director of woodland creation at The Woodland Trust, said: “The Woodland Trust is delighted to be working with water sector in this exciting initiative. Trees and woods in the right place can deliver a multitude of benefits and we urgently need a massive expansion in our tree cover if we are to adapt to future climate change.”

Peter Simpson, chief executive for Anglian Water said: “Much of our proposed planting will be with the purpose of allowing nature to help us do our job. Whether that be by building more treatment wetlands, or by using green spaces to manage urban flood risk in partnership with customers, local authorities and local charities.

“We take our commitment to the environment and the local communities we serve very seriously, and we’re proud to be at the forefront of the water industry’s environmental efforts. Eleven million trees is a significant commitment, and one which will really help to combat the huge challenges of climate change and flooding, as well as adding to the natural beauty of our region.

“We’ve been pushing for the water sector to reduce its carbon footprint for a number of years. This initiative is a clear signal of the whole industry’s intent to be running carbon neutral businesses by 2030.”

The plan also received support from Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole, who said: “Doubling the UK’s tree cover is crucial in the fight against climate breakdown, so it’s great to see this commitment coming from some of our biggest water companies.

“Large landholders, including water companies, have an opportunity and responsibility to use their land in the best way for the planet. We’re therefore challenging landowners everywhere to reintroduce trees and offering to help them on that journey.”

The Government’s committee on climate change aims to increase UK woodland coverage from 13 per cent of land to 17 per cent to help meet the target for ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050.

https://wwtonline.co.uk/news/water-companies-to-plant-11-million-new-trees

Irish Water gets planning permission for Arklow WwTP

Irish Water has secured planning permission for the Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant in in County Wicklow.

The project will result in significant improvements to water quality in Arklow by ending the current practice of the discharge of raw sewage directly into the Avoca River, which is no longer acceptable.

With over 15,000 people set to be connected to the new treatment plant on completion, Irish Water said the project is important in terms of protecting the environment, facilitating economic development and providing for a growing population.

The Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant Project includes:

  • A new WwTP of 36,000 population equivalent that will best meet the current needs of Arklow, and allow for future expansion of the town. The preferred site is the Old Wallboard Factory, North Quay, Ferrybank
  • Sewer pipelines along the North and South Quays to bring the untreated wastewater to the WwTP
  • A marine outfall pipe to safely discharge the treated wastewater to the Irish Sea

John Joyce, infrastructure programme regional lead with Irish Water, said: “We welcome the decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant permission for the proposed Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“Since Irish Water took over the responsibility for water and wastewater services in January 2014, addressing the need to eliminate the discharge of raw sewage into the River Avoca has been a top priority.

“The proposed new WwTP will have huge benefits for the residents and businesses in Arklow and the tourists that visit the area as it will improve the water quality in the River Avoca and enable future economic growth in the area. This project is critical in safeguarding the wastewater system in Arklow for the future.

“We have had extensive consultation with the community to date and are committed to working closely with all residents and stakeholders as we progress this significant infrastructure project with benefits for all.

“To date, raw sewage has been discharged directly into the Avoca. This project, on completion, will see significant improvements to water quality in Arklow, which is better for the environment and the local community. Over 15,000 people will be connected to the new scheme.”

Pat Casey, an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who has been a Teachta Dála for the Wicklow constituency since 2016, said: “The process to get this plant has taken 30 years and I am delighted that it has reached this stage.

“The planning permission means that the wastewater treatment plant can proceed to commencement and the beginning of a massive growth potential for Arklow.

“As we all know Arklow has been discharging waste into the Avoca river in breach of EPA and EU regulations. The new high-tech wastewater treatment plant will provide the very latest in treatment technologies that will help to transform the town in positive ways.”

https://wwtonline.co.uk/news/irish-water-gets-planning-permission-for-arklow-wwtp

Government doubles funding for on-street electric car charging

Additional £2.5 million for chargepoints on residential streets.

Owning and charging an electric vehicle is set to become more convenient than ever thanks to an additional £2.5 million to fund the installation of over 1,000 new chargepoints, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today (Monday 12 August 2019).

The funding will support the on-street residential chargepoint scheme, launched in 2017, which helps people access charging infrastructure near their homes when they don’t have off-street parking. It will go towards helping local authorities to install these chargepoints, which can be built into existing structures like lamp-posts. The scheme aims to encourage even more people to choose an electric vehicle by making it easier to charge their cars near home, following a 158% increase in battery electric vehicle sales compared to July last year.

The scheme has already seen 16 local authorities prepared to install 1,200 chargepoints this year. The Transport Secretary is now doubling funding for the popular scheme to meet demand and accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles as the UK moves towards net zero emissions by 2050 and further improve air quality.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

It’s fantastic that there are now more than 20,000 publicly accessible chargepoints and double the number of electric vehicle chargepoints than petrol stations, but we want to do much more.

It’s vital that electric vehicle drivers feel confident about the availability of chargepoints near their homes, and that charging an electric car is seen as easy as plugging in a smartphone.

That’s why we are now doubling the funding available for local authorities to continue building the infrastructure we need to super-charge the zero emission revolution – right across the country.

The allocation of funding for on-street residential chargepoints is part of the £1.5 billion investment underpinned by the Road to Zero Strategy. The strategy consists of one of the most comprehensive packages of support for the transition to zero emission vehicles in the world, supporting the move towards a cleaner, greener, accessible and reliable UK transport network.

As part of this, the government is also investing £37 million into British engineering to develop electric chargepoint infrastructure that could rapidly expand the UK chargepoint network for people without off-street parking and put the UK on the map as the best place in the world to own an electric vehicle.

Innovations to receive investment include underground charging systems, solar powered charging forecourts and wireless charging projects. Much like current mobile phone technology, wireless charging could mean an end to needing to plug your electric vehicle in.

https://www.highwaysindustry.com/government-doubles-funding-for-on-street-electric-car-charging/

UK one of first countries in Europe to receive Google Flood Alerts

The UK has become one of the first countries in Europe where people will be able to receive flood alerts on their computer, phone or personal device through the Google Public Alerts map.

Residents at Whaley Bridge were just one of the communities that was able to access the Environment Agency’s flood warnings through Google for the first time this week.

Flood warnings issued by the Environment Agency will now appear on Google Search and the Google Public Alerts map with live alerts becoming visible on personal devices in a matter of seconds once they have been issued.

Announcing the launch of the new service, the Environment Agency said:

“This is another important step to help lower the number of people who are affected by the devastating consequences of flooding through early warnings and advice messaging.”

The Environment Agency has been working closely with Google for two years to design and implement the service in England.

Malte Will from the Social Impact Partnerships team at Google commented:

“We are very excited about the collaboration with the UK Environment Agency that will enable users to find authoritative information on severe weather conditions in real time.”

The service has already been rolled out in the USA, South America and parts of Asia to alert residents to environmental emergencies such as earthquakes, wildfires and extreme temperatures. The service has recently also gone live in Germany, where Google has collaborated with the German Met Office (DWD)

The Environment Agency already sends flood warnings and alerts to over 1.4 million properties in England which have signed up to a text, email and automated phone call service.

The environmental regulator said Google Public Alerts will give even greater access and visibility to the key public warning service through tens of millions of personal devices.

John Curtin, Executive Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the Environment Agency said:

“This pioneering service will ensure that our live flood warnings and safety advice reaches even more people when it is most needed, giving UK residents access to the first service of this kind in Europe.

“We are always looking to find innovative ways to give people advance warning of potential flood risk so they can take action to keep themselves and their property safe. We will continue to work closely with Google to explore ways in which we can further develop this fundamental public warning service.”

https://www.waterbriefing.org/home/flooding/item/16357-uk-one-of-first-countries-in-europe-to-receive-google-flood-alerts

Southern plans hosepipe bans as part of drought permit

Southern Water has said it will seek to reduce leakage and usage, including implementing hosepipe bans, if it succeeds in securing a drought permit to continue using the River Test in Hampshire.

In June, the company warned that flows in the Test were falling and said that, under new rules governing when it can take water out of the river to supply to customers, there was an increased risk of drought this summer.

Flows subsequently fell and Southern Water applied to the Environment Agency for a drought permit late last month that would permit the company to continue using the river if flows continued to fall.

At a hearing in Winchester on Tuesday 6 August, Timothy Comyn, a legal representative for Southern Water, said: “We are in a situation of an exceptional shortage of rainfall in the Southampton West area.”

Comyn said Southern Water, which recently announced an agreement with Portsmouth Water to take 15 million litres of water a day, is looking at other water resource options.

The company had previously announced that it was deploying extra teams and technology to tackle leaks, which has already resulted in a saving of 5 million litres a day in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight since February, as well as providing customers with water-efficiency devices.

It also plans to implement temporary use bans (TUBs) in certain areas.

Nigel Hepworth, water resources policy manager at Southern Water, said prior to the meeting: “Using a drought permit means that we must do everything in our power to reduce water use and so minimise the impact on the river’s precious and unique habitat.

“If the drought permit is granted we will be asking more of our customers by imposing TUBs in certain areas.

“If we do have to do this, it will be carried out in a phased way in specific areas which depend on the River Test for water and we’ll provide full details in advance.

“We understand this is disruptive and inconvenient but we’ve also seen our customers feedback that protecting the environment and the River Test is a priority for them too.”

Following the hearing, an Environment Agency spokesperson told the Daily Echo: “We are currently considering a drought permit application from Southern Water for the River Test.

“Although flows are currently at normal in the river for this time of year, Southern Water has applied for this drought permit so they are prepared if flows reduce.

“We will determine whether the permit will be granted by the end of August and we will continue to work with Southern Water as it develops its long-term water resource solutions that will protect this iconic river.”

Southern Water has announced a number of plans to contend with the water-stress challenge it faces, including working with Portsmouth Water on a £103 million winter storage reservoir in Havant and a number of water re-use and desalination options.

https://wwtonline.co.uk/news/southern-water-plans-hosepipe-bans-as-part-of-drought-permit