Ofwat defends its green record against lobbyists' report

A row has broken out between the water regulator Ofwat and Aldersgate, an environmental lobby group, over the findings of a green report looking at how government and industry can use natural resources more efficiently.

The report, to be published tomorrow, is critical of regulators and claims that Ofwat has "rejected calls from the Environment Agency" for a reduction in water loss due to leaks. But Ofwat, which is singled out for criticism, has hit back at the report, Beyond Carbon. It denies claims in the report, arguing that the authors have fundamentally "misunderstood the work of the regulator," adding: "Ofwat is well ahead of the curve in these areas.

The authors recommend that the regulator's remit be simplified to avoid conflicting targets. They give the emissions, produced while treating waste water for re-use, as an example of the the regulator's confused green objectives.

However, the Ofwat spokesman pointed to its recent climate change policy statement as an example of its commitment to conserving resources.

An Aldersgate spokesman defended the report: "An important part of the report is the call for reform of the regulators. We need more regulation, but smarter regulation."