Wendon’s Ambo Estate, Saffron Walden

Provision of strategic drainage advise to Polypipe Civils at their estate near Saffron Walden. Advise in relation to treatment works and pumping station options.

Securing of Section 106 permission for pumped effluent flows.

An application was made under Section 101a of the Water Industry Act. Section 101a is commonly called "first time sewerage". The aim is connect local communities to public sewers. This can include business estates (containing independent businesses), residential housing and other public facilities. A case is usually strongest where there there are connection would provide clear environmental benefits and that it can be done reasonably cost effectively.

 

It could be argued that Sewerage Authorities (SA) should already have connected such developments as part of their statutory obligations. SAs however have enormous areas to maintain and essentially use the Section 101a process to help guide them where the public demand may be greatest. SAs in the UK are largely operated as private companies. Although the capital expenditure in connection of an existing community would essentially be refundend to the Authority in agreement with Ofwat, connection places an additional demand on the Authorities existing assets. This means SAs in the UK can view such proposals as being detrimental to their company profits, which can lead to the conflict between the requirement to maximimse shareholder returns and fair and reasonable assessments of the public good.

If a Section 101a application is made this requires the SA to undertaken an assessment of the environmental pollution and cost of engineering works to rectify. There is some concern in the industry that such studies are not suitably comprehensive. Some SAs Engineers may believe that the objective is to produce a report which is not indpendent, but that support no change to the status quo. The common excuse is if that if a new or comprehensive private system was introduced there would be no need for a public connection.  Such argument effectively undermines the purpose in the Statutory Act and reforms in ministerial guidence have been considered for some years.

If rejected, an appeal can be made via the Environment Agency. It is common for Section 101a aplications to be supported by the EA locally. The appeal however is considered by a separate section of the EA. The approach may be considered similar to a Planning Appeal. The is concern that the EA does not however have sufficient independence.

Success, however could potentially bring major benefits for those then provided with public sewerage, interms of reduce maintenance and liability.

Wilsham are one of the most experienced consultants in the UK in this area.

Perhaps you have been contacted by a Sewerage Authority and wish to have some independent advice on the merits of public drainage. Or should you represent a community or estate which wishes to explore a new proposal do not hesitate to contact.

 

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