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United Utilities today publishes an ambitious £13.7 billion investment plan to deliver cleaner rivers, more reliable water supplies and extra support for customers struggling with bills in the North West.
The proposals, if accepted, would be the biggest ever investment in water infrastructure for over 100 years and support 30,000 jobs across the region, including 7,000 new jobs, helping to build a stronger, greener and healthier North West for everyone.
At the same time the company is planning to double its financial support for those who need it, with a package of £525 million to help one in six customers who may be struggling to pay their water bill.
United Utilities has engaged with over 95,000 people across Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Manchester and Cheshire to help shape the plan which addresses the things people said matter most to them.
From 2025, the company is planning to deliver the best quality tap water by investing in aqueducts to safeguard water supplies for more than 2 million customers and improve water quality for a further 1.4 million. More than 900 kilometres of water mains would be upgraded to reduce leakage and interruptions to supplies and further work to improve resilience would halve the chance of having a hosepipe ban in the future.
River water quality would be improved through projects to reduce spills from storm overflows by more than 60 per cent by 2030. This is the largest proposed programme to reduce storm overflow spills in the UK.
United Utilities says it will continue to work with local authorities to respond to the impacts of climate change and flash flooding, by separating rain water from sewer systems, helping build more resilient communities.
Louise Beardmore, CEO of United Utilities, said: “We’ve been listening to customers and communities right across our region to understand what really matters. What’s clear is that we need to improve services for customers and the environment.
“That’s why we are proposing the largest investment in water and wastewater infrastructure in over 100 years. It’s a hugely ambitious plan, and we’ve engaged with 95,000 people across our five great counties of Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire, to make sure we get it right, shaping our plans for each county to address the things that they’ve told us matter most.
“Our plan will secure water supplies for the future, halving the need for hosepipe bans, reduce storm overflow spills into our rivers and seas and upgrade our water network to cut leakage and service interruptions for customers.
“This historic investment will deliver a significant boost to the economy of the North West, supporting 30,000 jobs, of which 7,000 are new roles. We will also double our support for those struggling to pay their bills, with more than half a billion pounds of extra help – enabling us to support more than one in six households.
“We are ready to move forward and bring the step change people want to see and we’re already underway after bringing forward £1.2 billion investment earlier this year.”
If accepted the plan would:
Safeguard supplies for 3 million people – improving water quality and the security of future water supplies, halving the chance of needing a hosepipe ban in the future
Protect and enhance more than 500km of rivers and bathing waters – reducing storm overflow spills by 60%
Reduce leakage – building a more resilient water network, fixing leaks and replacing old pipes, targeting a reduction of 25% by 2030
Respond to the challenges of climate change – strengthening the network to reduce flooding of homes and businesses, improving services for customers and protecting the environment
United Utilities has submitted its draft business plan for the period 2025 – 2030 to Ofwat. The regulator will review the proposals and give its draft response by June 2024. The final plans will be agreed by December 2024.
The full draft business plan and what the investment means by county across the North West can be viewed at https://pr24.unitedutilities.com/
United Utilities provides water and wastewater services for 7 million people in across North West England.