Yorkshire Water calls for decade of investment to tackle pollution, climate change and resilience challenges

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Yorkshire Water has called for ten years of investment to tackle the challenges of combined sewer overflows (CSOs), climate change and the building of increased resilience for the benefit of future generations.

The company believes regulatory reform will allow for increased investment in a variety of solutions to respond to growing public interest in CSOs and their operation, which will be further compounded by climate change and population growth.

Yorkshire Water has outlined its suggested regulatory reforms as part of a document setting its aims for PR24 and beyond.

The strategic plan urges government to provide earlier clarity and guidance on key priorities and improve the alignment of regulatory processes, with timescales in place within government, Ofwat and Environment Agency lining up to ensure solutions can be found.

Yorkshire Water is also calling for better recognition of partnership working with local authorities and a stronger voice for customers and regional stakeholders, as well as a simplification of the price setting process that will be more efficient, cost-effective and make it easier for customers to understand.

Liz Barber, CEO of Yorkshire Water, said: "This year is a pivotal one, with crucial decisions set to be made that will dictate the direction the water industry takes in the coming years and shape its response to key challenges - climate change, resilience and CSOs.

"Public interest and expectations of how we as an industry tackle these challenges is understandably growing and we believe there is an opportunity for policy makers and regulators to implement reform to build greater flexibility into the way the sector can respond to these challenges. Increased flexibility will enable us, and other companies operating in the water industry, to enter a ten-year period of increased investment to tackle these issues in the interest of future generations.

“We are working to develop a new long-term strategy at Yorkshire Water, which will include measures to enable the sector to invest in infrastructure now, as well as allowing closer partnerships with local authorities to tackle flooding and build resilience. We believe regulation needs to recognise and adapt to the way investment will be delivered in the future, with nature-based solutions increasingly taking the place of hard civil engineering.

"Partnerships between water companies and other public bodies will need to deliver shared, holistic solutions to shared challenges. Those such as Living with Water in Hull, comprising Yorkshire Water, Environment Agency, Hull City Council, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and plans for a similar partnership in South Yorkshire are key examples of what has been achieved so far, but further regulatory reform would allow for an even greater impact."

Yorkshire Water will be publishing detailed plans for PR24 and beyond in the coming months.