Ofwat: Strategic Priorities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:18 pm on 9th June 2022.

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Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Chair, Administration Committee, Chair, Administration Committee 3:18 pm, 9th June 2022

I thank my right hon. Friend Philip Dunne for everything he has done. I say that as one of his parliamentary colleagues, but also as a passionate angler for the past 51 years of my 54-year life; and the other three were wasted. I am chairman of the all-party group on angling and I am chairman-elect of the Angling Trust, a position I will take over in September this year.

I agree with my right hon. Friend: I am sick and tired of water companies, and the slurry spreaders and egg farmers, pumping sewage into our rivers and watercourses. I am familiar with the Wye valley, and I share the sense of outrage of my right hon. Friend Jesse Norman at what has happened to that river and what continues to happen to that river. Ofwat needs to get with the programme. Yes, consumers want to have water priced at a level they can afford, but consumers now also want to protect the environment that they enjoy.

There was an article in Monday’s Times which said that 98% of the swimming locations in Austria—about 50 places—are of an excellent standard and meet the highest levels of quality. We would be lucky to find one place in England where it is safe to swim; in fact, there is only one place.