Water Quality

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons on 9th December 2021.

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Photo of Danny Kruger Danny Kruger Conservative, Devizes

What steps he is taking to improve water quality.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Improving water quality is a priority for this Government. We are the first Government to work to tackle the historic issue of storm overflows, including by placing a duty on water companies through our landmark Environment Act 2021. That duty builds on the expectation for the water industry to achieve a significant reduction in harm from storm overflows, as laid out in our draft strategic policy statement for Ofwat.

Photo of Danny Kruger Danny Kruger Conservative, Devizes

I am grateful for that and very much welcome it. The Secretary of State will be aware that Morgan’s Hill in my constituency is the source place for southern England; a drop of rain that falls there could end up in the North sea, the English channel or the Atlantic ocean. The Government are reviewing the mandate for Ofwat. Will the Secretary of State confirm that Ofwat will be directed to ensure that the water companies have the funding that they need—that they can raise the funding that they need—to make the necessary investments in infrastructure: not just the grey concrete infrastructure, but the green nature recovery infrastructure that is needed to clean our rivers?

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My hon. Friend makes an important point. I can confirm that the new draft strategic policy statement that we have issued to Ofwat states that there is a clear priority around reducing storm overflows and delivering our environmental outcomes. Yes, in the next price review, such infrastructure will be at the top of its list of priorities.