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Water Act 2003

64. .Section 16: Protection from derogation.

Under the current legislation, the EA cannot grant an abstraction or impounding licence that derogates from any “protected rights”, except with the consent of the person entitled to those rights. Those rights recognise an established entitlement to abstract a certain quantity of water, for certain purposes. This section limits the protection against derogation for new licence holders to rights arising from a full licence. For transfer and temporary licences however, some effective protection of licence-holders’ rights is delivered by the continuing requirement upon the EA to have regard to river flow levels and other lawful uses of inland waters when granting licences. Existing licence holders who fall outside licensing as a result of the revised threshold introduced by section 6 continue to benefit from protection from derogation. Where an application is made to renew an existing time-limited licence, then that application will be assessed against the protected rights of other abstractors which existed at the time of the original grant. The rights of those later abstractors will therefore not trump the rights of earlier, established abstractors.

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