Isles of Scilly Water Legislation Consultation

Closed 12 Feb 2015

Opened 20 Nov 2014


Various key pieces of water legislation within England that protect public and environmental health do not apply to the Isles of Scilly (or have only been applied in part). Such legislative gaps mean that the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) and Environment Agency (EA) have no enforcement powers in relation to water on the islands. This means that residents on and visitors to the Isles of Scilly (IoS) may not enjoy the same level of public health and environmental protection as is available elsewhere in England. Therefore Defra intends to introduce legislation in 2015 applying provisions of the relevant Acts to the IoS. This will also ensure that the Drinking Water Directive and other EU Directives are fully implemented in the IoS.

 There are a number of options to be considered to deliver compliance with any new regulatory framework for both infrastructure costs and administrative costs.  These range from: the Isles of Scilly council raising funds locally; through central government or European grants;  to potential part or full privatisation of water responsibilities and assets.

We want to ensure that that there will be enough time to plan for any upcoming costs and take decisions on the options outlined above.  Although we aim to have the regulations in place for autumn 2015, we will work with those involved to develop transitional arrangements to control when the impact of costs will begin to take effect. No decision has been made regarding what proportion of these costs, if any, will be passed onto the bill payer.  However affordability will be at the heart of any proposals put forward.


Why your views matter


The purpose of this consultation is to consult on the proposed changes with the IoS Council, the Duchy of Cornwall and Tresco Estates, and through its publication on the Defra website also with IoS residents and other interested members of the public.

This consultation document has a number of purposes:

  • Where we think that applying provisions of the legislation is necessary to fully implement EU legislation, we would like to obtain any further information from consultees about the likely impacts of applying the legislation;
  • For some proposals for inclusion of provisions which do not implement EU obligations, we have greater discretion over whether to apply to the IoS and are therefore seeking views from consultees on whether or how we should apply the legislation;
  • We also want to use this consultation to provide information to readers about the existing domestic and EU regulation that already applies, but where it may have more of an impact due to the other changes we propose to make. 

The consultation focusses on the key provisions we are proposing to apply and explains their impacts. The final Order is also likely to apply other provisions which relate to and supplement these main changes. We will be working with the IoS Council on the detailed contents of the Order itself.



What happens next

Once the consultation is closed we will look to analyse your respnses and in-line with Government policy will publish a summary of responses within 12 weeks of the consultation closing.


  • Coastal local authorities
  • Coastal Management sector
  • Water/water Industry sector
  • Water Abstractors
  • Local Authorities
  • Farmers
  • SME businesses
  • Water suppliers
  • Leisure industry
  • Tourism industry


  • Natural environment
  • Marine
  • Water quality
  • Bathing waters
  • Sewerage
  • Water Abstraction
  • Domestic Waste Water Systems
  • Land management
  • Nitrates and watercourses
  • Shellfish