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General Synod – Church Water Bills

The first item of business this afternoon (Wednesday) was a private member’s motion about Church Water Bills.

Martin Dales (York) moved:

That this Synod, concerned about the effect on many parishes of sudden, massive rises in water charges for churches, request HM Government to remind OFWAT of its obligations to ensure that the water companies adhere to the clear guidance given by the Secretary of State for the Environment in 2000, which states that “there are many non-household users who are not businesses … including places of worship … and it would be inappropriate to charge all non-household customers as if they were businesses”.

The motion was carried by votes 282 to nil with three recorded abstentions.

The amendment below was proposed by Timothy Cox (Blackburn) but was defeated on a show of hands.

Leave out all the words after “concerned about the” and insert:
“devastating impact of massive rises in the sewerage charges for places of worship, charities, not-for-profit clubs and voluntary organisations, request HM Government to issue new guidance to OFWAT and the water companies to:
(a) treat not-for-profit organisations, charities, places of worship, community halls etc differently from businesses and provide concessionary rates for surface and foul water drainage for these bodies; and
(b) spread the cost of highways drainage solely upon for-profit organisations.”.

Background papers
from Martin Dales (GS Misc 904A)
by the Secretary General (GS Misc 904B)

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