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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:45 pm on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative 12:45 pm, 11th April 2019

I refer the noble Lord—who, given his previous roles, is much more knowledgeable on these matters—to the Pitt review.

How can we ask water companies already in areas of national stress—whether the north-east, where there are pockets of national stress, or the south-east and East Anglia, where we have heard that there are specific problems of water stress—to supply water and take wastewater away safely if they are not consulted and do not have the wherewithal? I have seen first-hand in areas such as Filey that new developments are built on fields that take displaced water—flood-water, essentially —and that water then goes into existing developments. I do not think future home owners should put up with that. Developers go in, build projects where there have been no sustainable drainage systems in place and walk away. We are creating something that I would like to see fixed once and for all—I am not discouraging new enterprises—by giving water companies the tools to do the job. Let us ensure that they are heard. Have we not seen that, once the Environment Agency secured the status of statutory consultee, its advice has been heeded much more rigorously than was ever the case in the past? I rest my case.

Finally, I urge my noble friend the Minister to give greater clarity to natural capital, what is meant by natural capital and what greater role it might play in water policy going forward.