The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending GBP 200 million to United Utilities Water for the improvement of water and wastewater infrastructure in the North West of England.

The project consists of numerous water supply and wastewater schemes located in the North West of England - a number located in regional development areas - that are included in the company's regulated capital programme for the 2005-2010 period. The aim is to enhance environmental performance and ensure compliance with national and EU environmental standards.

The loan contract was signed on 18 November 2004 in Warrington, by John Roberts, Chairman of United Utilities Water and Peter Sedgwick, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank. This operation is the fourth EIB loan to United Utilities Water after the privatisation of the company in 1989 and the fourteenth loan overall since the 1970s.

Commenting on the EIB's long standing relationship with United Utilities Water, Vice-President Peter Sedgwick insisted on the Bank's very dedicated support for improvements in the water supply and wastewater infrastructure in England and on the importance of the United Utilities group as an important partner in furthering EIB objectives on environment, regional development and energy.

A key target for the EIB, the European Union's long term financial institution, is to finance projects that directly promote the EU's policies to protect the environment and reduce pollution in Europe.

Over the last five years, the EIB provided EUR 6.4 billion for environmental projects in EU amongst which EUR 3.5 billion for the water sector in support of a wide range of both private and public investment schemes concerning water supply, wastewater treatment, flood protection and stormwater drainage. In line with EU Directives, the EIB accords precedence to projects embodying an approach of sustainable integrated resource management.