Amendment 102

Part of Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Report (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 18 July 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Pinnock Baroness Pinnock Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Levelling Up, Communities and Local Government) 7:00, 18 July 2023

My Lords, my noble friend Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville is unfortunately unable to attend today, as she is not well. I will say a few words on her behalf.

First, I endorse entirely what has already been said about the environmental importance of chalk streams. I think it was David Attenborough who described them as one of the rarest habitats on earth. If David Attenborough says that, we must listen and listen carefully.

Secondly, I want to say something about pollution and about water extraction. The Environment Agency has responsibility for giving permission to water companies for the level of extraction, be it from rivers or aquifers. Indeed, there are aquifers in Yorkshire—not in my part, but in the East Riding—which Yorkshire Water extracts from. What I do know is that aquifers take a long time to refill after periods of extraction. I look to the Minister to respond on water extraction from aquifers. The amount of water taken from aquifers obviously then impacts on the flow in chalk streams, which is essential for their protection.

What I want to say about pollution from sewage overflow discharge is this. About 150 years ago there was a Conservative Prime Minister in this country who had a policy of sewage. That is exactly what this country needs now. A Conservative Government run this country, so perhaps they can adopt Disraeli’s policy of sewage. It would be a bit late, but it would not be before time if they did.