Environment, Food and Rural Affairs CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA)

1. The UK Environmental Law Association aims to make the law work for a better environment and to improve understanding and awareness of environmental law. UKELA’s members are involved in the practice, study or formulation of Environmental Law in the UK and the European Union. It attracts both lawyers and non-lawyers and has a broad membership from the private and public sectors.

2. UKELA prepares responses to consultations issued by government, public authorities and Parliamentary committees with the help of its specialist working parties, covering a range of environmental law topics. This response has been prepared with the help of the water working party.

3. UKELA considers the Water White Paper proposals to be set out in such general terms that we are unable to judge their workability and effectiveness at this stage.

4. UKELA will be taking a close interest in the more detailed reforms, proposals and draft legislation on particular issues that the government intends to publish in the coming months. We would expect the government to consult extensively, in accordance with the Government Code of Practice on Consultation. We consider this a crucial stage in the process of formulating the new policies and legislation, and one that organisations such as UKELA can usefully contribute to with views and comments on matters of detail, based on experience and expertise.

5. In particular, we consider it very important that there is proper public consultation on the revised guidelines for the next water resources management planning cycle, the strategic policy statement and social and environmental guidance to Ofwat. These documents are referred to at paragraph 4.10 of the White Paper, and will play a vital role in translating the policy priorities in the White Paper into a clear direction for companies and others with an interest in the water environment.

20 January 2012

Prepared 4th July 2012