Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Surface water changes - update

Today is the deadline for responses to the comedy proposal from Defra regarding the proposed amendment to s106 of Water Industry Act to remove the right to make connections to existing surface water drains and sewers, and to require all new paving to front gardens to be permeable. As many readers will be aware, this proposal has caused a great deal of concern amongst contractors, some of whom have chosen to vent their spleen in The Brew Cabin.

Residential paving contractors have no unified voice to represent their views, so over the past two months, I've been canvassing opinion via email and phone, as well as following the various discussions that have developed in The Brew Cabin and have attempted to summarise the points made and opinions held in a single document which I have just forwarded to Defra for consideration.

Anyone wanting to read my submission can download a copy from here. It's a Word document, so should be readily accessible by most, if not all, interested parties.

Obviously, this is a story that is bound to unfold over the coming months and I hope to keep up-to-date with what is being said and done, but, up to now, the opinion of the small residential paving contractor, so-called White Van Man, has been missing from the considerations. Indeed, you only have to read the worryingly partial Impact Assessment document to get a feel of how uninformed and naive regarding our trade this project has been to date.

I'd welcome thoughts and comments on what I've written in the response document, either here on the blog, in The Brew Cabin, by email or by phone. The more information and opinion from smaller contractors that I have, the better I can present those opinions to the consultation.

This proposal directly affects our trade. I can't think of any other industry that would be so blithely ignored when considering legislation that could devastate their livelihood. If we don't speak up and present our case, we can't complain when the politicians, the academics, the Whitehall mandarins and all the usual suits impose THEIR will upon us.
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