Water supply and sewerage licensing regime: standard licences conditions and the approach to secondary legislation

Closed 28 Jan 2016

Opened 17 Dec 2015


The Water Act 2014 (WA14) introduces reforms to the water supply licensing regime (the “WSL”) that will allow the water sector to achieve increased resilience, increased customer choice and support economic growth.  These include changes that will allow more competition in the retail market for non-household water and sewerage services.  The reformed WSL will be known as the water supply and sewerage licensing regime (the “WSSL”).

This consultation is published alongside drafts of standard licence conditions for the WSSL.  Ofwat conducted a consultation on its licensing policy and has published the outcome of that consultation.  The Secretary of State, having consulted the Welsh Ministers on conditions applicable to the water supply licence, is required to publish standard licence conditions before Ofwat can start issuing new licences.

Why We Are Consulting

We are providing stakeholders with a final opportunity to provide comments on the draft standard licence conditions before Ofwat opens the WSSL licence application process in April 2016, ahead of retail market opening in April 2017.

There are also a number of revisions to secondary legislation that will need to be taken forward in order to open the retail market.  This document therefore includes details of our approach to introducing and amending relevant secondary legislation.

We would welcome your views and comments on the draft licence conditions and on proposals to introduce or amend secondary legislation.  Please read the consultation document before responding.

All responses should be sent by email to wssl.consultation@defra.gsi.gov.uk, or by post to WSSL Consultation, Water Services Team, Defra, Area 3B, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR.

What Happens Next

Once the consultation has concluded, and we have taken account of any comments, we will publish a summary of the responses and the final version of the standard licence conditions in February 2016.


  • Water/water Industry sector
  • Non-Household Customers
  • Consumer Groups
  • SME businesses
  • Water suppliers


  • Water Act