Following confirmation from the Environment Secretary, Iain Coucher has been appointed as the new Chair of Ofwat, the economic regulator for the water sector in England and Wales. Mr Coucher will take up the post on 1 July 2022.
During the pre-appointment hearing held by Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) Mr Coucher set out his four priorities for Ofwat:
- improving the environmental performance of water companies, including addressing the issue of river water quality by reducing reliance on the use of storm water overflows;
- making sure companies and their boards take responsibility for ensuring they have sufficient financial resilience;
- ensuring a long term approach for the sector to deliver needed infrastructure, operational performance and other improvements to address the impacts of climate change and urbanisation; and
- ensuring PR24 delivers for customers, water companies, communities, the environment and investors.
Incoming Ofwat Chair Iain Coucher said:
“I am delighted to have been appointed as the new Chair of Ofwat. Ofwat plays a critical role in ensuring that the industry delivers for customers and communities. The fundamentals have not changed: customers want high quality, reliable and resilient water and waste management services at an affordable price; communities expect water companies to minimise the impact their operations have on the environment.
“I have always enjoyed working in sectors that deliver societal benefit and I am passionate about the environment. I am looking forward to working with the other members of the Board and the executive team at Ofwat, the water companies and all stakeholders, to ensure we have a water industry in England and Wales of which we can be proud.”
Outgoing Chair Jonson Cox has been at Ofwat for ten years, overseeing improvements to the financial resilience of the sector, water company governance, leakage, help for vulnerable customers, transparency and more.
Jonson Cox added:
“The water industry is hugely important to customers, society and the public good. Over the past decade we have made good progress in holding companies to account, and driving improvement in water companies on performance, financial resilience and culture. There is of course more to do, most particularly on rivers. As I leave Ofwat, I do so with a real sense of hope of what this sector can deliver for customers, communities, and the environment. With Iain’s appointment, and the appointment of David Black as permanent CEO, I am happy to see that Ofwat will be in good hands.”