The Environment Agency (EA) announced changes to water abstraction licences held by a large number of businesses in the Ant Valley on the Norfolk Broads last year. The changes will have a dramatic impact on those who rely on water for their production systems and will come into effect on 1 October 2024.
The CLA is involved in many aspects of water policy in support of our members. Water has been under increasing scrutiny over the years, beginning with the EU Water Framework Directive introduced in 2000. The concept of "clean and plentiful water" is now at the heart of the public money for public goods agenda.
With climate change and population growth placing increasing pressure on our water environment, agriculture and land use have a big part to play in ensuring resilience of supplies in dry weather, protecting water quality, and in helping to manage increasingly unpredictable rainfall and flooding risk.
However, the CLA strongly disagrees with the proposed loss of compensation rights for those who have abstraction licences removed. Permanent abstraction licences are business assets and property rights, adding value to land and providing options for business growth and diversification. Removal of these licences has significant impacts on rural businesses and food production. As such they should not be changed or revoked without compensation.
The CLA is continuing to monitor this situation closely. If your rural business is impacted by these changes and you would like free advice, as a CLA member, contact our rural adviser Andrew Marriott firstname.lastname@example.org