Ensuring water consumers’ views shape the decisions of water companies, regulators and policy makers and building a more resilient water sector that reflects people’s growing concern for the environment will be among the most pressing priorities for the new chair of the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater).
Robert Light has revealed some of the issues that will be high on his agenda after being appointed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Welsh Government.
The former Environment Agency board member succeeds Alan Lovell, whose term as chair of the independent water consumer body for England and Wales came to an end earlier in the spring.
Robert is no stranger to the water sector having championed the interests of consumers as the organisation’s Northern Chair for the past four years and he believes those experiences will stand him in good stead.
He said: “It’s a great privilege to represent water consumers at a time when the industry is facing unprecedented scrutiny. Trust in companies will seep away unless they can convince customers they are motivated by the same things they value.
“People have never been more concerned about the future of our environment and need to know companies can be trusted to look after the water resources our lives depend on. They also want to see a more compassionate side to the industry that goes the extra mile to help the most vulnerable customers. My aim will be to ensure that everyone realises that the voice of CCWater is the voice of water customers and that it must be listened to.”
The father-of-three has spent half of his life as a member of Kirklees Council, where his proudest achievements included overcoming the odds to open what is now one of Yorkshire’s most successful comprehensive schools.
He ended his 26-year spell as a councillor in November 2018 but has since been appointed Head Commissioner of the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN).
Tony Smith, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Rob has been an outstanding advocate for consumers in the North of England and I expect him to build on that good work as our new chair.
“His and our immediate task is to make sure we secure the best possible deal for customers as the price review nears its conclusion. The foundations are in place – now it’s time to finish the job.”
Mr Light has been appointed for a period of three years until 5 June 2022.