National Policy Statement for Water Resources Infrastructure 2018 - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:13 pm on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Lansley Lord Lansley Conservative 12:13 pm, 11th April 2019

I apologise for interrupting my noble friend’s flow. I declare an interest as chair of the Cambridgeshire Development Forum. As my noble friend will know, Cambridgeshire is the driest place in the country, but none the less it has probably the fastest rate of housing growth. I want to ask a question before he moves to the nationally significant infrastructure projects. It seems that the national policy statement, in talking about shaping water resource management plans, was not quite specific enough about taking account of spatial strategies in so far as these are produced by combined authorities, in our case, or local planning authorities. There continues to be an issue about ensuring that the necessary investment is in place to supply water to development projects and not to lead to any delay, as we want to build houses and build out, and doing so is one of the Government’s objectives. That can be because the investment ahead of need criterion sometimes applies, as interpreted by the regulator. Can my noble friend perhaps look at this so that, through the water resource management plans and Water Resources East, for example, we can ensure that not just the nationally significant infrastructure projects but some of the more regional and local projects are incorporated into the water companies’ investment plans, and the regulator enables them to support some of that investment, which they currently tend to treat as speculative?