Wales Bill - Report (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 14th December 2016.

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Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General 6:15 pm, 14th December 2016

My Lords, to follow on from what the noble Lord, Lord Morgan, has just said, I have looked at the government amendments with some care and notice that Amendment 45, which sets out the proposed water protocol, refers to a,

“serious adverse impact on water resources in England, water supply in England or the quality of water in England”,

and, conversely, water resources in Wales. What is not contained there is the impact on the social and environmental character of Wales by any proposal that may be brought forward for the extraction of water from Wales. When the Minister referred to Amendment 44 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Wigley—that the extraction of water from Welsh reservoirs shall require the legislative consent of the National Assembly for Wales—he said that we need not worry about that because there is already environmental law that will protect the people of Wales from the building of reservoirs that would have such an environmental or social impact. I would like the Minister to state quite clearly that there will be no reservoirs built in Wales without the consent of the Welsh Assembly. I think that that must be said. Whether it is due to the existing position or the proposals he has brought forward in these amendments, I do not care. I just want it to be absolutely clear what the position is.