Regulators join forces to launch advice service for water innovators

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The Drinking Water Inspectorate, Ofwat and the Environment Agency have launched a new joint service to improve advice and slash response times for water innovators.

Called StreamLine, the new collaborative service will function as a one-stop shop, making it easier for business and innovators to obtain informal regulatory advice and help them navigate regulations and get the advice they need when developing new goods and services.

John Russell, Senior Director of Ofwat commented on the announcement: “StreamLine is now open for any innovators in the UK and internationally to use.

“As well as providing a better service to innovators, it will enable all three regulators to work together collaboratively and share intelligence on how to make it easier for innovators to navigate regulation and remove unnecessary barriers.

“This will encourage more innovation to help secure the water services, drinking water and water environment for the future.”

Before StreamLine, water innovators would need to contact each of the regulators in turn if they had a question. Now they can do this in one place: slashing response times from over 60 days to contact all three regulators in turn, to less than 20 days to get co-ordinated advice from all three.

Speaking about the launch, Deputy Chief Inspector of the Drinking Water Inspectorate, Nicholas Adjei, commented: “Our legislation, regulations and guidance are there to protect people, drinking water and the environment.

“But we know they can be complex for new businesses and innovators to navigate and enter the market. StreamLine will help all three regulators provide a better service to water innovators and support innovation.”

The new StreamLine service was made possible because of a £170,000 grant from the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund operated by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Richard Thompson, Deputy Director, Environment and Business at the Environment Agency, added: “We need to make sure future generations have enough water.

“StreamLine will help all three regulators work together to support more innovations to improve drinking water, water services and the water environment – while still continuing to protect people, business and the environment.”

StreamLine provides advice to help innovators and businesses understand and navigate through water sector regulations but not on activities such as environment permits, planning and substances in contact with drinking water (Regulation 31), which are charged for.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate provides independent reassurance that public water supplies in England and Wales are safe and drinking water quality is acceptable to consumers, Ofwat is the economic regulator of water and wastewater services in England and Wales, while the Environment Agency protects and improves the environment in England.

StreamLine can be accessed via the Ofwat website.