Degraded Chalk Stream Environments

Part of Petition - Shelton Road Planning Application – in the House of Commons at 8:46 pm on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 8:46 pm, 22nd July 2019

I hear what my hon. Friend says. Ofwat is a champion of the consumer, and I hope that in its recent interventions with the water companies he will recognise some of the progress it has made, but I hear what he says. The Environment Agency challenged Ofwat in its initial 2019 price review over the fact that it and some of the companies that had come up with particular plans and made some good progress were none the less not fulling their environmental obligations. I am pleased therefore that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State last week met the water companies and challenged them by saying that, while we recognised the strength of the investment they had brought to the water industry in the last 25 years, they must not forget the environment and we would continue to press them on that point. I am pleased that the Environment Agency is pressing the case with Ofwat so strongly. I hope that the next Government, to be formed this week, will proceed with the environment Bill, which will strengthen Ofwat’s powers. Who knows? There may be opportunities for even further consideration of a duty relating to the environment.