East Devon Abstraction Licensing Strategy

We coordinated the delivery of the Environmental Agency’s (EA) Abstraction Licensing Strategy (ALS) for East Devon as part of our framework contract. Through close collaboration with key specialists within the EA, we drafted the updated ALS which was published on GOV.UK in June 2022.

Key details

Project name

East Devon Abstraction Licensing Strategy



Environment Agency, South West Region, Devon and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly


Catchments of the River Exe, River Otter, River Sid, River Axe and River Lim


Services provided:

Delivery of the updated abstraction licensing strategy for East Devon catchments in the south-west of England

As part of the priority catchment initiative, the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (DCIS) area of the EA was required to update their Abstraction Licensing Strategy (ALS) for East Devon. The ALS is a core EA document that provides guidance to abstractors, explaining how water resources are sustainably managed through the application of abstraction licencing policy at a national and local scale. The priority catchment initiative aims to develop innovative catchment-based solutions to achieve greater access to water and address unsustainable abstraction at the catchment scale.



As an official government document, it was essential that the end ALS publication:

  • is accessible to its entire potential audience, which is diverse in terms of technical background
  • has a structure and content that is complementary to the way the information is accessed online.

As a result, strong controls were imposed on the writing style, structure, and content of the ALS. Given the complexity of many concepts presented in the ALS, this change in writing style challenged us as it varies from the technical reporting more routinely produced in consultancy.

Collaborating with numerous specialists brought consultative and editorial challenges to writing the report within tight time frames.  

A landscape with grass, trees and river


Preparing the East Devon ALS required detailed background work to gather the information and consider its style and structure. 

By building close relationships with key specialists at the Environment Agency, we were able to deliver a robust ALS for the EA that contains:

  • a more logical structure and relevant content than the previous version
  • a simple but clear presentation of surface water and groundwater availability within the East Devon catchments and how that availability is assessed
  • more useful information regarding national licensing policy and local considerations, that will prove informative to any prospective or existing abstractors
  • a concise summary of catchment focused approaches and projects being implemented by the EA and stakeholders in the (River) Otter priority catchment.

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