New sites or areas that were granted planning Permission after December 2017 will need a new Transfer Licence and are not covered by the transitional arrangements agreed between the Government and industry. The main difference to the application process is the need to consider in detail impacts on the environment and other water users.
It will still be necessary to justify the volume of dewatering for which a licence application is being made. This is likely to take the form of calculations based on known mineral permeabilities and saturated thickness. A simple schematic diagram showing how water will be used and transferred across the site will also still be required.
The availability of groundwater within the catchment will need to be determined. In the first instance this will take the form of determining the Water Framework Directive (WFD) quantity status and the prevailing attitude of the Regulator to abstraction, as set out in England in the EA Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy (CAMS). If either the WFD quality status is ‘poor’ or the CAMS state that groundwater is ‘unavailable’ for abstraction a licence MAY NOT be granted unless mitigation can be provided.
An assessment will also be required of potential adverse impacts on other local water abstractors (derogation of water supplies) and impacts to water sensitive ecological sites.
Unless the environmental impacts of dewatering have been considered in a recent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or ROMP, it is likely that the application will need to be supported by a detailed water features survey and an assessment of impact, in similar detail to that needed for an EIA.