Why it's important to talk to us early

Before work can begin, most types of development or building work will need planning permission from the Local Planning Authority. Our Developer Services and Planning team reviews planning applications for new development published on local authority websites to understand the impact the proposals may have on our assets and infrastructure, and the service they provide to our customers. This activity also helps us to understand growth and development across our Region so that we can prepare for the future.

Local Authorities are responsible for making decisions regarding development proposals. They are also reliant on expert advice from Lead Local Flood Authorities and the Environment Agency. Local Authorities don't have to include the comments we make in their planning determinations (the decision and conditions they place on proposed development), however, they will usually take our comments into consideration.

We encourage developers to talk to us at the earliest stages of planning their development using our pre-development enquiry service  to understand how water and wastewater services may be provided to the proposed development.

Before submitting a planning application we also encourage developers to use our Property Searches service to make sure that there are no assets or infrastructure crossing the site that may impact their proposals. It is the developer’s responsibility to understand what is above or below ground and how this relates to their proposed development. This can sometimes have a significant impact on how a development is delivered.

You can contact our planning section at

National planning practice guidance

We encourage you to consider your development in the context of the National Planning Practice Guidance, which refers to the new Non-Statutory Technical Standards for Sustainable Drainage Systems.

Water risk assessment

We have a responsibility to ensure water delivered for domestic purposes is of wholesome quality, without taste or odour. Where new water pipes are to be installed in land that is, or may be, affected by contamination, a risk assessment for water pipes should be provided to us to ensure that the correct type of pipe is selected. We recommend that this assessment is carried out as early as possible in your development planning process.

Most Local Authorities provide guidance to developers and homeowners about identifying land which is potentially affected by contamination for planning and building control purposes. Alternatively, you may wish to seek professional advice from an organisation/consultant that can provide specialist guidance on potentially contaminated sites.

In January 2011, UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) published "Guidance for the Selection of Water Supply Pipes to be used in Brownfield Sites" (Ref 10/WM/03/21; the 'UKWIR Guidance'). It aims to ensure that correct materials are selected for both water pipes and components to be used below ground in brownfield sites, to protect the quality of drinking water whilst taking into account the service life of the water distribution system.

We have adopted the UKWIR Guidance in principle and, in addition, have produced 'UUW supplementary guidance for the selection of water pipes in land potentially affected by contamination', which includes our Risk Assessment for Water Pipes, to clarify some of the areas in which it will operate. You'll find it all in the link below.