In The South

Greens urge Council to bypass water companies

Besi Besemar July 18, 2019

Council urged to bypass profit-making water companies and make bid to supply its own water. “Option to buy water ‘direct’ from supplier cuts out water companies and their profit margins, say Greens.

PLANS for the council to cut out water companies and buy water directly from the supplier could drive down costs and benefit the environment, Greens have said.

As part of a proposal going to Policy, Resources and Growth Committee this afternoon (July 18), Green Councillors are hoping that Brighton and Hove City Council will become the latest to apply for a ‘self-supply licence.’ 

The licence, granted by the water regulator OfWat, would allow the council to become a purchaser in the water market, cutting out water companies who often charge a premium.

Councils such as Blackpool, who have been awarded the licence, identified that ‘self-supply’ could save £194,00 over three years and improve customer service. Councils opting to self-supply are also given greater say over the management of the water supply – moves that Greens say will benefit the environment.

Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty
Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, who is proposing that the council explores the option to ‘self-supply’ water, said: “With news that Southern Water has been fined a record £126 million for wastewater and sewerage spills, as well as deliberately misinterpreting performance, it’s clear that water privatisation has failed us and our environment. Greens will continue to fight for an end to water privatisation – and while that fight goes on, we want to see residents given the democratic oversight over water they deserve. 

“Exploring the option to ‘self-supply’ water would allow the council to directly buy water services – cutting out the water companies and their profit margins.

“On top of lowering bills, the city’s water supply would be brought under direct democratic oversight – including wastewater management, giving us the opportunity to do more for our environment. Crucially, councils who opt to “self-supply” are also given a say in how water is managed nationwide. We are pushing for Brighton and Hove to become the latest council to challenge how water supply is owned and run– for the good of our residents and environment.”