The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending GBP 100 million (EUR 128 million) to Dwr Cymru Welsh Water for a series of water supply and wastewater treatment schemes across Wales.

The EIB is supporting the second phase of Welsh Water’s 2005-2010 investment programme which will ensure continued compliance with EU and domestic standards. The EIB-funded projects which will be undertaken by Welsh Water in the period 2008-2010 will improve living standards for Welsh citizens thanks to essential upgrades in water treatment and improved sewage and wastewater infrastructure.

“Water and wastewater projects are a priority for the EIB”, said Simon Brooks, EIB Vice President responsible for lending activities in the UK; “so much so that in August 2008 we renewed our water lending policy to ensure it remains in touch with the ongoing developments and challenges of this important sector. Over the past 17 years the EIB has enjoyed a successful relationship with Welsh Water and we look forward to supporting the environmental improvements and measurable benefits to the quality of customer drinking water that this investment programme will provide.”

Chairman of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water Lord Burns said, “I’m delighted that the European Investment Bank has agreed to provide a further GBP 100 million financing of our water and wastewater improvement programme. The EIB continues to be a very important source of secure finance for Welsh Water, especially in these times of turmoil in the financial markets. We look forward to continuing to work with the EIB in the future.”

The project will consist notably of the rehabilitation or construction of numerous wastewater treatment schemes and a comprehensive water mains replacement programme across Wales. New water pipes and upgraded water treatment plants will improve drinking water and receiving coastal and inland water bodies will no longer be at risk from untreated discharges.

This loan is the ninth which the EIB has provided to Welsh Water, notably the third since the water sector privatisation in 1991. In 2005 the Bank backed the first phase of the company’s 2005-2010 investment programme with a GBP 100 million loan.

The EIB loan to Welsh Water was signed during a celebration ceremony at the Welsh Assembly building, the Senedd, in the presence of First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (EIB)

The European Investment Bank, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the long-term lending arm of the European Union. Its role is to further the objectives of the EU by making long-term finance available for sound investments. In 2007 it lent nearly EUR 48 billion for projects within the 27 EU member states and in partner countries. In the United Kingdom, loans totalling EUR 4.2 billion were signed in 2007, bringing total lending in the period 2003-07 to EUR 18.3 billion.

EIB Activity in Wales

The EIB has lent to projects in Wales amounting to a total of almost EUR 305 million between 2003 to 2007 in support of infrastructure and industry. In 2008 the EIB lent over EUR 70 million for the refurbishment of social housing in the County Borough of Torfaen. Future projects in Wales include financing to benefit the country’s many small and medium sized enterprises.