The Environment Agency and Natural England have produced the water industry strategic environmental requirements (WISER) which describes the statutory and non-statutory expectations of water companies for price review 2024 (PR24).
The UK government’s strategic policy statement states that the Environment Agency and Natural England will set out the expectations of water companies’ overall environmental performance through the WISER, which provides the strategic steer to water companies on issues such as improving the environment, flood risk and relevant legal requirements.
It is designed to help water companies understand their environmental obligations and the regulators’ expectations of them.
Water management within the water sector is governed by four statutory planning frameworks; river basin management plans, water resource management plans, drainage and wastewater management plans, flood risk management plans. WISER requires water companies to take all these planning frameworks into consideration as well as considering the water industry national environment programme (WINEP).
WISER explains the statutory obligations on water companies and the regulators expectations of water companies. However, the Environment Agency has pointed out in the document that these are the minimum requirements. Water companies are expected to go beyond the minimum where there is environmental benefit in doing so, and where water companies have good customer support.