The statement sets out the priorities which Ofwat should keep under review and requires them to report on the steps they have taken in response to this steer.
As the independent economic regulator for the water industry, the decisions taken by Ofwat can have significant impacts on the economy, society and the environment. In recognition of this, Ofwat has been given clear statutory duties to protect the interests of consumers; whilst ensuring that efficient water companies can carry out and finance their functions; and to exercise its powers in a way best calculated to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.
It is the Government’s responsibility to set the strategic framework and policy priorities within which economic regulators such as Ofwat operate.
The Strategic Policy Statement sets out the priorities which Ofwat should keep under review and requires them to report on the steps they have taken in response to this steer. The document incorporates Social and Environmental Guidance that sets out more specific priorities under a range of themes that Ofwat should have regard to. This also provides guidance to Ofwat on fulfilling their sustainable development duty.
The document reflects the Government’s vision for the water sector set out in the Water White Paper: Water for Life. This identified the challenge of increased water scarcity due to climate change and demographic trends and highlighted an increased emphasis on resilience, long term planning and customer choice.
This Guidance is now in force; having been laid for 40 days in the Houses of Parliament as required under section 2A of the Water Industry Act 1991.