Abstraction Reform Advisory Group

The group, representing the main users of water in and from rivers, lakes and aquifers, advises the UK and Welsh governments on proposals for the reform of the water abstraction management system in England and Wales.

Role of the group

The Abstraction Reform Advisory Group guides and advises the development and assessment of options for reform of water abstraction.


  • Sarah Mukherjee – Water UK
  • Luke DeVial – Wessex Water
  • Simon Wood – EDF
  • Andy Limbrick - Energy UK
  • David Pollard - Chemicals Industry Association
  • Susanne Baker – EEF
  • David Bellamy – Food and Drink Federation
  • Debbie Stringer – Confederation of Paper Industries
  • Nicola Owen – Mineral Products Association
  • Paul Hammett – National Farmers’ Union
  • Damian Testa – Country Land and Business Association
  • John Adlam – Horticultural Trade Association
  • Andrew Smith – British Trout Association
  • Chris Brett – British Hydropower Association
  • Adam Comerford – Canal & River Trust
  • Phil Burston – Blueprint for Water (RSPB)
  • Andrew Gurney – Farmers’ Union of Wales (Undeb Amaethwyr Cymru)
  • Ian Brown – Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
  • Colin Fenn – Blueprint for Water (WWF)


The next meeting will be held in the autumn.

Minutes of previous meetings

For previous minutes please go to the National Archives website.

Terms of reference


The purpose of the group is to advise the UK and Welsh governments on the proposals for the reform of the system for managing water abstraction in England and Wales.


The group is chaired and managed by government officials. Final decisions on abstraction reform rest with ministers. Officials ensure that points raised by members are:

  • accurately recorded and logged
  • properly considered by officials
  • accounted for in feedback from officials to members of the group
  • fed into advice to ministers where appropriate


The group:

  • takes an overview of the programme of work surrounding abstraction reform
  • advises the UK and Welsh governments about the impacts of abstraction reform on affected stakeholders
  • disseminates accurate information about abstraction reform to affected stakeholders through members of the group, especially where members are representative bodies
  • represents views of affected stakeholders
  • advises on technical aspects of abstraction reform including by taking part in sub groups and/or recommending who would be best placed to offer technical advice

Ways of working

The UK and Welsh governments will:

  • invite individuals to join the group who have an interest in abstraction reform, and in particular individuals from representative or intermediary groups already in contact with affected stakeholders
  • arrange meetings roughly every 3 to 4 months in the first instance with the frequency of meetings to be reviewed; meetings are interactive and participative, with a balance between government providing information and stakeholders giving their views
  • provide timely information to the group
  • ensure that members are given sufficient time to review or comment on documents or other information effectively
  • make clear what issues are for discussion and what has already been decided
  • provide feedback to the group about how their contributions have been taken into account and the rationale for decisions reserves the right to review the membership of the group or dissolve it if necessary
  • ensure that a note of meetings and record of decisions is produced in timely fashion

Members of the group

  • will endeavour to attend meetings regularly in person, avoiding sending deputies where possible, to ensure continuity of input and understanding
  • will keep confidential information they are given in confidence
  • will give a fair representation of information they have been given when feeding back to their members or other stakeholders


  • will share information and respect each others’ views and contribution to the discussion
  • will review the effectiveness of the group against its objectives and working principles regularly
  • will bring forward and consider proposals to improve the effectiveness of the group if it is considered not to be operating effectively