Why it's important to talk to us early

At a strategic level, we consult with the local planning authority and promote suitable sites that can be serviced with water and wastewater. 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 all planning applications published on local authority websites to make sure we can support the proposals. This could be as simple as making sure we have no assets in the way of your new buildings, to making sure our water and wastewater networks can cope with the increased demand.

Local Planning Authorities don't have to include the comments we make in their planning determinations (the decision and conditions they place on proposed development), unless the development is going to pose a major physical risk to one of our assets e.g. building over an aqueduct. However, as we have good relationships with Local Planning Authorities, they will usually take our comments into consideration.

Talking to us at the early stages of planning your development is really important, as this can avoid possible delays if we discover a potential problem when you make your application for planning permission. Through early discussion about proposed development, we can understand, advise and plan how we can support the requirements of your development. 

You can contact our planning section at [email protected].

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.