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Simon Cocks steps down as WRSE chair

Simon Cocks is to step down as independent Chair of Water Resources South East (WRSE) before the end of the financial year.

He will remain in position whilst the organisation, made up of the six water companies which operate in south east England, complete the appointment of a successor.

Cocks has chaired the regional group for south east England since Autumn 2016, a role he took on whilst CEO of Affinity Water.

Following his retirement he stayed on as independent chair of WRSE, with particular focus on its response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s report ‘Preparing for a drier future’. The report identified the need for more resilient water supplies across the country – highlighting the challenge facing the South East – and identified a role for strengthened water resource planning at a regional level. 

This was followed by the establishment of the National Framework for water resources which marked the shift to regional planning and set out the expectations for the five regional groups now in place across England.

Commenting on his departure, Cocks said: “It has been an incredible time to be involved with WRSE as we have created our ambitious strategy to deliver a multi-sector, regional resilience plan that will meet the needs of 40% of household customers in England, as well as millions of businesses, other water users and the environment for many years to come.  

“We’ve done some great work to build the foundations for the plan which could lead to £17 billion of investment in water resources over the next 75 years, which will provide more resilient water supplies to all, deliver an improved and protected environment and contribute to the green recovery.  

“I have worked with some fantastic people from both within and outside the water industry and I would like to thank them all for their support and hard work. I am also very proud of the high standards of governance and transparency we have achieved, together with the contribution we have made to the ongoing work of the National Infrastructure Commission and the National Framework for water resources.”

Ian McAulay, deputy chair of WRSE and CEO of Southern Water said: “Simon has provided great leadership, navigating WRSE and its member companies through this intense, transitional period for regional groups and we are grateful for his contribution and commitment.

“Our attention now turns to producing a regional plan that will effectively mitigate climate change, prepare for the impact of extreme weather and sensitively manage the precious water environment that we rely upon in the south east, whilst delivering more than 3 billion additional litres of water per day to meet the needs of all users in the driest part of the country.

“It is a great opportunity for collaboration and innovation, and we look forward to working with Simon’s successor to achieve our important and ambitious goals.”

Topic: Water resources
Tags: planning , infrastructure , WRSE

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