East Anglia: Experts warn farmers to renew water abstraction licences before December 31 deadline

Experts are advising farmers and landowners with water abstraction licences which expire in early 2013 to renew them now to avoid them being lost.

Michael Horton of land agents Savills in East Anglia advised anyone with a water abstraction licence which runs out in March 2013 to act fast before the December 31 deadline, or risk their licence being lost.

“The Environment Agency have already reported that more than three quarters of the 750 time limited water licences due to expire next year have still not yet been submitted for renewal so we need to act,” he said.

If applications are submitted on or before December 31, a new licence will be granted, provided that the application is for a licence on the same terms and conditions, the operation continues to be environmentally sustainable, the amount of water applied for is justifiable and the water will be used efficiently.

“Our main concern is that many landowners will assume that tenants or contractors have made the application to renew their licences, or that shared land users will have started the process. However, ultimately this is an issue of landowners value and therefore something they should actively protect by ensuring that the application happens in good time,” said Mr Horton.

Mark Russell from Savills’ Ipswich office added: “The ability to abstract and use water on farmland in Suffolk adds at least �1,000 an acre to a farms value. With 47% of crop output in East Anglia, by value, coming from irrigable crops, this is a valuable asset that farmers need to protect.”