West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has welcomed the announcement that community, faith and sports groups will not have to face large water drainage charges.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have plans for new legislation to allow water companies, such as United Utilities, to run concessionary schemes. This will benefit scout groups, faith groups, village halls, amateur sports clubs and other community organisations.
Rosie Cooper, who has been campaigning on this issue for some time said:
“I very much welcome this announcement from Defra. It is fantastic news for many local community, faith and sports organisations in West Lancashire. They can now get on with the great job they do in our communities rather than worrying about ‘unaffordable bills’.
“I will continue working hard to ensure that United Utilities do introduce a concessionary scheme and that they do so at the earliest possible opportunity for the benefit of local organisations.”
Previously Rosie had written to Defra Ministers, the water company regulator Ofwat and North West utility provider, United Utilities to make representations on behalf of local community organisations to secure a fairer deal.
A moratorium has been in place on surface water charges for 2009/10 meaning local organisations did not have to pay the higher rates. This announcement will provide some clarity to the issue for 2010/11 and beyond.
The situation has arisen from utility companies switching from a rateable value to site-area based charging system for surface water drainage – meaning individual building owners would be responsible for paying an annual fee to deal with drainage issues. This led to excessive increase in water bills for groups already struggling financially.