Ofwat: Strategic Priorities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 9th June 2022.

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Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne Chair, Environmental Audit Committee, Chair, Environmental Audit Committee 4:45 pm, 9th June 2022

Very brief, Madam Deputy Speaker. Thank you for calling me and for chairing our debate. In essence, every contribution from across the House has been in agreement: we have broad consensus that now is the time to fix the water quality of our rivers, and Ofwat is the mechanism by which the process can begin. I am extremely grateful to the Minister in particular for her response to comments made from across the House. I hope that her officials will read the transcript and the commitments that she made. Hon. Members, and certainly I, as Chair of the Committee, will be happy to engage with her on some of the additional points on which she responded so positively. I also thank the Opposition spokesman, Alex Sobel, who approached the debate in characteristically constructive style.

I would gently say to the sole representative of the Liberal Democrats, Daisy Cooper, in a slightly discordant way, that calling for a sewage tax and to ban sewage discharges as a legal, overnight measure reflects the lack of credibility or realism in proposals that the Liberal Democrats often make on this matter. I must say that their intervention on the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022, which was to make it an offence for mammals to die from sewage exposure, was a typical example of a completely ludicrous proposal. There was no evidence that that was a problem; the Committee received no evidence on the subject whatsoever. It was political posturing ahead of local elections, and I am afraid that that needs to be called out.

Question put and agreed to.


That this House
has considered the Government’s strategic priorities for Ofwat.