Agenda item

Presentation from Anglian Water to Members

To receive a presentation from Anglian Water, (slides enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee welcomed Ms Hannah Wilson, Pre-Development Planning Manager, from Anglian Water (AW).  Ms Wilson presented Members with a General overview of AW, their involvement at the pre-planning stage, and how capacity concerns are identified and subsequently mitigated.

 

A summary of the information presented to Members is detailed as follows:

·       A large area of water networks is covered by AW, comprising of both foul water and surface water.  This includes both independent (a dedicated network for either foul or surface water) and combined networks (foul and surface water).

·       AW seek to encourage sustainable growth. 

·       AW are regulated by the following organisations:

o   The Water Services Regulation Authority (OfWat);

o   The Environment Agency (EA).

·       There are two teams that input directly into the local planning process:

o   Spatial Planning Team:

§  Statutory consultees;

§  Respond to neighbourhood plans; 

§  Recently rolled out a Green Water Programme – how developments can look to use water wisely.

o   Pre-Development Team:

§  Technical Team;

§  Tactical side of planning – looks at all planning applications and pre-planning reports;

§  Seeks to engage with Local Authorities – Members, town and parish councils;

§  Engagement with developers;

§  Market Insight Group look at growth strategically.

·       Pre-Planning Reports – developer led (this is a paid for service and encouraged by AW).

o   Developers are expected to submit all relevant information and proposals, including connections and information on foul and surface water drainage.

o   In response AW produce a report which identifies any constraints and, where possible, instigates working together to develop a strategy to work with proposed growth.

o   Developers are under no obligation to approach AW for a pre-planning report.  These generally assist in a smoother process and potentially mitigate the need to add conditions.

o   Pre-Planning Reports are covered by the Data Protection Act.  The applicant owns the report, restricting the information that AW would be able to provide to the Local Authority.  Maldon District Council (MDC) caseworkers are advising applicants to approach AW as part of the pre-application process.

 

 

·       Planning Applications

o   Under the Water Industry Act developers have the right to connect to a water network, therefore, AW are unable to reject applications on the grounds of capacity.  Through liaising with applicants at the pre-application stage, a reactive approach can be mitigated.

o   AW are not a statutory consultee, despite approaching Government to become one.  All Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are good at notifying AW of applications.

o   Major applications, 10 or more dwellings or over 0.5 hectares, will receive a response from AW.

o   Minor applications, less than 10 dwellings, are requested to approach AW for assessment.

o   Comment on the discharge of conditions regarding the networks.

o   AW have provided MDC with some standard text which will be provided to applicants at the pre-application stage.

·       Mapping Services:

o   Sewers can impact the layout of a development, diversion or building over sewers requires permission from AW.

o   Easements regarding noise and odour around pumping stations can be recommended.  Proximity to water recycling centres is advised against and odour assessments are recommended.

o   Waste water treatment – capacity at the water recycling centre.

§  Will advise whether there is capacity or not, however AW are obliged to treat the flows from any development with permission. 

§  These reports are informative only and Developers cannot increase the capacity.  Spending on growth is determined by OfWat with the Environment Agency authorising permits.

§  Solutions could be an update of technology at the recycling centres, not necessarily a physical expansion.

o   AW notify MDC of their comments, and once the application is approved any investment is planned.

·       Used Water Network:

o   AW looks at all the plans for the development.  It is expected of developers to submit plans which indicate where they intend to connect to the network.

o   The type of connection will have a different impact on the downstream network:

§  Pumped – used water is stored until a trigger point is reached, at which time it is released into the network;

§  Gravity – a slow continuous trickle into the network.

o   AW have models of the existing networks.  Where there are concerns or a lack of capacity AW would suggest conditioning, requesting the developer to engage with AW or, for larger developments, to request providing a phasing plan.

o   AW communicate with Essex County Council, Highways, for information which aids the modelling of the network and to ensure that informed assessments are made.

o   AW request that any flooding issues are reported directly to them.  Where an issue affects multiple households, AW would prefer that this was reported multiple times.  If AW can build a history on blockages etc they can better identify where issues have been resolved.

o   AW are keen to educate the public on issues through campaigns, such as the Keep It Clear campaign (more information can be found here).

·       Surface Water:

o   Developers are encouraged to engage with AW early in the application process to discuss SuDs applications.  Where applicants have not done so it is probable that there will be conditions put in place.

o   Where engagement had taken place and SuDs was adopted, AW would look to take on the cost of future maintenance.

o   While it was more commonplace for developers to approach AW, they cannot insist that this happens as it is a developer led discussion - developers continue to be responsible for the design, but AW can suggest placement the of connections.

o   New sites are considered manageable due to being geared towards SuDs, whereas older sites which are connected to the network may not be known to AW.

o   Surface water being directed into the foul water network is governed by building regulations.  Developers can fund new infrastructure for a site and connect to existing networks, which, due to legislation, AW have no power to prevent.

·       Zonal Charges:

o   In April 2018 zonal charges were established to look at the growth and funding for mitigation.  Previous applications were looked at in isolation, however the site and catchment area is now considered.  MDC can look at future planning for a catchment area and how to get the developer involved.  AW may fund an increase in the network.

o   Developers pay into a zonal charge pot.  This is spent by AW across the region on mitigation and growth.

·       Next Steps:

o   AW are looking 15 years into the future at housing and bill rates.  The aim of this is to identify triggers and risk areas, with consideration toward development costs involved and the requirements of the developer.  AW are looking to continue working with partners; the EA, Parish and Town Councils such as North Fambridge, and the Local Flood Authority.

o   Water issues within the district are to be identified to enable AW to determine what they can do and how they can work with partners.  It was noted that AW can only fund AW assets.

 

The Chairman, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Ms Wilson for a very comprehensive and informative presentation.

 

Supporting documents: