Parkland dispute settled

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire Water has averted a damaging court battle with one of its largest industrial customers, the Parkland textile group, by offering to slash this year's water bills.

The settlement brings to an end a three-year dispute between the two companies over huge increases in Yorkshire's charges for dealing with waste water.

Parkland, which makes suit fabrics for retailers including Marks & Spencer, said Yorkshire had offered it a new set of tariffs which would cut its water and sewerage bills this year by pounds 70,000, on top of charges of some pounds 100,000.

The so-called reception charge, which covers the cost of dealing with large quantities of waste water from dyeing and finishing processes, had been planned to rise this year to 50p for each cubic metre. An earlier offer to cut this to 26p had been turned down by Parkland, which until last month was preparing to take the dispute to court. Yorkshire has now reduced the charge to just 14.5p.

Brian Lodder, Parkland's chairman and chief executive, praised what he described as a change of attitude at Yorkshire Water since the new management team, led by chairman Brandon Gough, took the helm last year. "It was worth the fight," he said. "Since the replacement board came in at Yorkshire Water we've seen a much more constructive and consultative approach."