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Explanatory Memorandum to Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

Consultation, Equality and Regulatory Impacts

5.The Government has consulted extensively on the future of water and sewerage services. The issue was first raised by the Northern Ireland Executive in its “Review of Rating Policy” consultation published in May 2002. That paper asked how water and sewerage costs might be distributed among domestic customers if the Executive and the Assembly agreed to introduce these. Subsequently the Secretary of State gave a commitment that water and sewerage services should become self-financing. A consultation paper entitled “The Reform of Water and Sewerage Services in Northern Ireland” (March 2003) outlined the need for enhanced and sustained investment in Northern Ireland’s water and sewerage infrastructure and invited views on options as to how this could be achieved, including the issue relating to domestic charging. The results of consultation were published in October 2003. Detailed proposals for reform were announced in summer 2004 and a draft Integrated Impact Assessment was published in November 2004. Government’s response to this public consultation and its revised policy is set out in a Consultation Report, published in December 2005, along with the final Integrated Impact Assessment and Regulatory Impact Assessment, including the Equality Impact Assessment. All of the above consultation papers can be viewed at www.waterreformni.gov.uk. A consultation paper on arrangements for making new connections to the water and sewerage networks was published at the same time as the draft legislation (June 2006).

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