North Devon Tory backs water drainage charge campaign

PHILIP Milton, the Tory party s PPC for North Devon, is backing a campaign aimed at reducing the impact of surface water drainage charges on voluntary organisations. Ofwat, the water industry watchdog, is requiring changes in the way these charges are as

PHILIP Milton, the Tory party's PPC for North Devon, is backing a campaign aimed at reducing the impact of surface water drainage charges on voluntary organisations.

Ofwat, the water industry watchdog, is requiring changes in the way these charges are assessed.

Four water companies are already using the new system - based on site area rather than rateable value - but as yet South West Water is not one of them..

It is feared Scout and Guide groups and community sports clubs will be among those to suffer most, along with churches which often have large roofs and big car parks.


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The Don't Drain Us campaign estimates that the annual cost to the Church of England of moving to site area charging would be �15 million. The Scouts claim the change could cost scout huts �500 a year.

Mr Milton is backing a campaign by Nick Herbert, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to allow water companies to reduce the charges for voluntary groups.

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He has already written to South West Water and so far has been assured there were no plans for this area but that other groups' charging schemes were being watched carefully.

The proposal is that Ofwat is given the power to allow water companies to exercise their discretion and introduce social tariffs to deal with surface water drainage for these customers, similar to one introduced by Severn Trent, which charges these groups a minimal fee for drainage.

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