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First climate change policy spells out impact on people's lives

First climate change policy spells out impact on people's lives

WATER SERVICES REGULATION AUTHORITY News Release (PN 24/08) issued by The Government News Network on 31 July 2008

Ofwat today publishes a comprehensive policy statement on climate change and the water sector in England and Wales. Because the services provided by the sector are fundamental to life, and we all rely on them daily, the document recognises that climate change will impact all of us.

"Preparing for the future: Ofwat's climate change policy" gathers together in one document all of Ofwat's policies in relation to climate change. It shows how climate change is affecting the water and sewerage sector and how our policies recognise this.

Among the issues covered in the policy statement are:

- Reducing leakage and water consumption can help secure increasingly valuable water resources and reduce emissions. Last year's leakage reduction alone led to a saving of 35 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2e) emissions per day - equivalent to driving an average car over 140,000 miles.

- Last summer's floods demonstrated the impacts extreme weather events can have on our critical infrastructure. Ofwat provides guidance on improved resilience and drainage to protect consumers from hazards such as severe weather.

- The bills consumers pay must provide value for money, particularly in these difficult economic times, and lead to sound investments which meet the challenges of the future, including climate change - Ofwat sets a clear framework using cost benefit analysis to achieve this.

The policy statement helps water and waste water companies to look comprehensively at impacts of climate change and make the right changes to their operations at an appropriate pace to benefit both consumers and environment.

Ofwat Chief Executive Regina Finn said:

"This policy statement pulls together in one single place, the comprehensive and wide-ranging policy actions Ofwat is taking to ensure the sector is responding to the challenges of climate change.

"This is a long term issue - changing weather patterns are guaranteed for decades to come - and the sector must adapt to cope with that, while at the same time taking responsibility for its emissions and playing an appropriate part in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced in the UK."

The production of this single policy statement is in line with Ofwat's approach to sustainability, which takes a long term view of the sector.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) is the economic regulator of water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. It exercises its powers in a way that it judges will protect the interests of consumers, promote value and safeguard future water and sewerage services by allowing efficient companies to carry out their functions properly, and finance them.

2. A copy of "Preparing for the future - Ofwat's climate change policy statement" is on the Ofwat website http://www.ofwat.gov.uk

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