Water abstraction licences—rights and proposals for reform
Water abstraction licences—rights and proposals for reform

The following Environment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Water abstraction licences—rights and proposals for reform
  • Brexit impact
  • Abstraction licences
  • Time-limited licences
  • Rights
  • Defence against civil claims
  • Water rights trading
  • Reform of the water abstraction regime

Brexit impact

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content.

For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—impact on environmental law and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

Abstraction licences

There are three types of abstraction licence:

  1. full licences—to abstract more than 20 cubic metres of water per day for a period of 28 days or more for any purpose

  2. transfer licences—to abstract more than 20 cubic metres of water per day over a period of more than 28 days, for the purpose of transferring water with no intervening use from one source of supply to another, or to a different point in the same source in the course of a dewatering activity

  3. temporary licences—to abstract more than 20 cubic metres of water per day from one source of supply over a period of less than 28 days

Matters dealt with in a new licence include:

  1. the means of abstraction

  2. purpose, and

  3. expiry date

Applicants need to apply to the Environment Agency (EA) or Natural Resources Wales (NRW) for a licence. See Practice Note: Abstraction and impoundment licences—applications and