Motion A1 (as an amendment to Motion A)

Part of Environment Bill - Commons Reasons and Amendments – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 9th November 2021.

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Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative 4:15 pm, 9th November 2021

My Lords, I take this opportunity to congratulate the noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington, on bringing us this far and I add my congratulations to my noble friend the Minister.

I want to ask two small questions. My noble friend said that he would look for the water companies to achieve a progressive reduction in the discharge of sewage over a period and admitted that this would go beyond one price review. As we are so far into the current price review, what will the level of expenditure be within this review, and does he admit that the majority of expenditure will probably fall in the next price review?

He is aware of my concern about the delay in introducing the regulations under Schedule 3 of the water Act 2020. Does he not share my concern that we will still potentially be front-loading raw sewage as surface water will be allowed to mix with the overflow from the combined sewers, pumping more raw sewage into the rivers? I am deeply unhappy that we have not yet fulfilled one of the outstanding requests of the Michael Pitt report from 2007, when surface water flooding first became an issue, and even after the awful floods that we have had since. We have not managed to achieve an ending to the automatic right to connect and, until these regulations are introduced, we will not do so.

Is my noble friend able to put a timetable on when these regulations will finally come into place, so that we can have a pincer movement on the raw sewage going upstream and downstream, as addressed by the amendments before us this afternoon?