Water provision entitlement to the public V high-intensity industry user, Cuadrilla, during low-pressure periods
Dear United Utilities Water PLC,
After several unsuccessful attempts to ascertain some critical information from yourselves, I respectfully request the following information, under the The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 legislation:
I should be grateful to find your legislative position on supplying Cuadrilla's water-intensive industry site at Preston New Road during such periods of pressure issues or any kind of water shortage such as extended summer drought periods.
Following on from emails, public and social media notices dated Monday 11th June 2018, stating that there was variations in the water pressure on the Fylde Coast, local residents are still experiencing ongoing issues of poor water pressure on a daily basis.
This is an urgent issue, as discussed by the Environment Agency in their report, The state of the environment: water resources, published in May this year.
The Chair of the EA stated in May 2018:
"Current levels of abstraction are unsustainable in more than a quarter of groundwater bodies and up to one-fifth of surface waters, reducing water levels and damaging wildlife."
The insufficient and evasive reply I received from one of your colleagues, included the October 2015 statement by United Utilities on shale gas, of which I already had and is now rather dated, considering the emerging evidence on an almost-weekly basis.
With the addition of UU relying on the wholly outdated 2012 Royal Society report, there is no position on supplying freshwater supplies to a water-intensive fracking industry during a drought period and I will be grateful of a full reply at your earliest convenience.
Thank you for your email on Wed Jun 20 2018 21:20:46 regarding your
Environmental Information’s Regulations (EIR) enquiry, please take this
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Dear Ms Stephenson
Re Your request for information
We write further to your request for information submitted via the
Whatdotheyknow website, which we include below.
Under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), we are obliged
to provide you with environmental information which we hold. Unfortunately
your request appertaining to our legislative position on supplying
Cuadrilla, seeks to invite our opinion. Technically therefore, our
response is that under EIR Regulation 12(4)(a), we do not hold the
specific information you require. However in the spirit of wishing to be
helpful and transparent, you may find the following observations,
volunteered outside of the scope of EIR, helpful.
Given the dry weather, we’ve received several enquiries concerned about
the impact that shale gas extraction will have on water supplies.
Future patterns for water demand, whether that is from industry or
population growth, are assessed as part of our water resource management
planning. We have recently consulted on our plan for 2020 to 2045 and we
are forecasting a small surplus between supply and demand by 2045. Details
can be found on our website at
When it comes to the impact the shale gas sector may have on water
supplies, a report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee
published in 2014, called ‘The Economic Impact on UK Energy Policy of
Shale Gas and Oil’, assessed the impact of the sector on water supplies.
It said that in a “high activity scenario” the demand for water would be
“substantially less than 1 per cent of total UK annual non domestic mains
water usage”. Such information is included in our assessment of industrial
use as part of our water resource planning.
When facing a situation of prolonged dry weather, we have published our
drought plan, also available on our website, see
This sets out the steps we take to safeguard supplies, including
restricting non-essential use such as using hosepipes. This does not
extend to restricting use by any sector for its industrial processes.
On that basis, we would reassure our customers that we take into account
changing patterns of water use and plan accordingly to maintain supplies.
The recent high temperatures set records for water consumption too. Demand
for water was the largest ever recorded in recent years. As a result of
our careful planning as described above, we have sufficient water in the
system; it is the speed of demand in some areas which caused lower
pressure at peak times for some customers. Where some of the network’s
pipes are smaller, we can face a challenge to pump the water through those
pipes at the volume and speed to meet the demand from customers,
especially morning and evening. When we see this risk, we carefully manage
local network pressures and storage levels in our water system to maintain
service to customers.
Whilst as indicated above, your request is for opinion, and that in any
event the information you request is "not held", we hope that the above
proves useful. Again on the basis that your request isn't one that we need
comply with under EIR, nonetheless, should you not agree with that
position or wish to have reviewed our "not held" response, then you have a
right to challenge us over any suggested EIR non-compliance.
You can do this by writing to David Hannon Head of Legal, United
Utilities, Legal Department, Grasmere House First Floor, Lingley Mere
Business Park, Lingley Green Avenue, Great Sankey, Warrington, WA5 3LP.
Alternatively, you may find it easier to e-mail us directly on
[United Utilities request email] and your review request will be forwarded on to
Your request for review should explain why you wish a review to be carried
out, and should be made within 40 working days of receipt of this letter,
and we will reply within 40 working days of receipt. If you are not
satisfied with the result of the review, you then have the right to make a
formal complaint to the Information Commissioner.
Finally, kindly acknowledge receipt by return of e-mail.
Data Protection & Fraud