Ofwat: Strategic Priorities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:23 pm on 9th June 2022.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Minister (Defence) 3:23 pm, 9th June 2022

I am indeed, and I thank the hon. Lady for that intervention. We need to ensure that powers go with responsibilities and that funding, which is not there, follows. I am very mindful of the time limit you suggested, Mr Deputy Speaker.

On sewage, we need stronger, bolder measures. What customers can expect in the next price review period needs to be clearer. I would like that commitment on the bills that are sent to consumers. What is the priority? What is the transparency, so people can look into that? Without a clear timetable and a priority list for closures, I am afraid that we are not going to see the urgency we really need.

Finally, as a keen wild swimmer—I wear my wetsuit with pride when I go swimming in Plymouth Sound—we need more action on bathing water quality. Devil’s Point and Firestone Bay is a brilliant area of swim water in Plymouth, but it is not currently recognised as an official bathing water. At this very moment, there are beach volunteers on Devil’s Point and Firestone Bay recording how many swimmers, kayakers, paddle boarders and dog walkers we have on the beach and in the sea. That is a part of our campaign to have the water designated as official bathing water, meaning that there is water testing throughout the year, but especially in the key summer period, with the results published. That will give us a sense of what is in the water. I suspect we will have excellent bathing water, but when we have high levels of rain and raw sewage comes down the River Plym and the River Tamar, we will be able to understand what is in it. Is it human or is it agricultural? Then we can target raw sewage outlets for closure. That is the type of proactive measure I would like to see right around the country. That is why I want the SPS to go a little bit further. It is a good start, but I think there is more in there.