Land Law Finance - Issue 14 - Autumn 2019

EA is seeking to reduce licenced quantities or revoke licences at their renewal date. “These abstractors should be looking to utilise the water themselves for the remainder of the current licence period or alternatively they can look at options to trade some or all of the licence with a neighbour who does require the water,”Ms Brooks added. Other points worth checking is that the name on the licence is up to date and relates to someone actively involved in the day-to-day running of the business. This avoids any relevant correspondence getting overlooked and also, if there is a breach, whoever is listed on the licence is the person who will face legal action. The need for accuracy when monitoring abstraction is also crucial, as is meeting the rules on submitting abstraction returns, Strutt & Parker adds. Drones to monitor abstractions The Environment Agency has just announced that for the first time this summer it is using drones to monitor abstraction in East Anglia’s fenland areas, so it can take action against any licence holders breaching the conditions. Ms Brooks explained: “There have been prosecutions where the EA has found that misleading or incorrect information about the amount of water abstracted has been submitted. “The returns let the EA know that the licence is active, and that you require your abstraction allowance.” Strutt & Parker says that there is currently an option to request to flex abstraction conditions in the event of prolonged dry weather events. Subject to there being no negative impact on the environment or other water users, the EA has said it will consider requests to fast track water rights trades and extend the winter abstraction season to enable winter storage reservoirs to be refilled, assuming river flows are sufficiently high. Given the increased pressure on water resources, Strutt & Parker has urged farmers to consider investing in on-farm reservoirs to help their long-term water management. Although there is not currently any funding available through the government’s Countryside Productivity Water Resource Management Scheme, LEADER funding to support such projects may be available in some regions. Issue 14 L and L a w F inance 13