West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has welcomed action from the Government to secure a moratorium on higher surface water drainage charges for 2009/10 for local faith buildings, scout and guide groups and community amateur sports clubs.
Rosie, who has been campaigning on this issue for some time, said:
“I’m pleased that after representations from myself and others the Government have taken action on this issue. Local groups who contacted me were facing worrying financial pressures after the excessive charges were announced by United Utilities in their switch to site area based charging for surface water drainage."
“I wrote to Ministers at the Department for the Environment, the utility regulator OFWAT and United Utilities and United Utilities have now bowed to the pressure and declared a moratorium on the higher charges for this year for certain buildings and a review of the policy for the future."
“I’ll continue working to ensure that local community groups who may struggle to pay higher charges receive a fair deal.”
United Utilities recently made the decision to switch from rate-able value to site area based charging for surface water drainage - meaning individual building owners would be responsible for paying an annual fee to deal with drainage issues relating to surface water on their sites. They argue that this system is fairer as it means that charges more accurately reflect the costs imposed on the sewerage system by customers. However it has led to excessive increases in water bills for groups already struggling financially.
In a letter to all local faith buildings, scout and guide groups and community amateur sports clubs, United Utilities apologized for ‘the financial pressures that the transition to site area charging may have placed on your organisation over the last 12 months, and for any confusion or inconvenience caused by the way we implemented this change.’