Memorandum by R & J M Place Ltd (DWB
Please find enclosed our memorandum for the
Sub-committee and we would welcome the chance to give evidence
before the Committee. We believe this could be useful to the Committee
because one of the major aims of the draft Water Bill is to bring
into licensing, abstractors like ourselves, who have been previously
exempt from obtaining a licence for trickle irrigation.
Our activities may mirror those of other trickle
irrigators who are now exempt.
We want to continue, in our rural area of Norfolk,
supporting the environment whilst sharing out the water fairly
between the needs of the environment and the needs of long established
fruit growers and farmers.
Water, which we use for trickle irrigation of
our fruit crops, is vital to our business and until now trickle
irrigation has been exempt from licensing. Under the draft Water
Bill, we would be obliged to apply for a licence but the Environment
Agency tell us that if we applied for a licence this would be
refused because the catchment is said to be fully committed.
We expected that the draft Water Bill would
provide grandfather rights in the form of new licences for long
established growers like ourselves, but all we can find is a provision
under Clause 60 for two years transition, which would be no help
We cannot grow fruit without water, it is vital,
as we could not produce the quality and quantity required by our
buyers, so no new licence means we would be unable to continue
in business. This would be a disaster for our business with our
staff becoming redundant and a loss of £3 million to the
Our business has been profitable and we have
recently invested £4 million. We put £3.25 million each
year into our rural economy. We employ 70 regular workers and
up to 850 casual workers in summer/autumn.
We would like to answer questions from the Committee
and hopefully the Government will reword the draft Bill, so that
our Company which has been growing fruit since 1954 could continue
It would be a disaster to have to cease business,
as we would just grow corn on the land, which crop is now overproduced
and unprofitablethe total economy would lose £3 million
per annumwe would all lose our jobs (70 regular workers
plus all the casual workers).
Please let us know what further information
you require and we look forward to hearing from you.