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Clause 20 - Charges for moving pipes

Water Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 10th December 2013.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Dan Rogerson Dan Rogerson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The clause amends section 185(5) of the Water Industry Act 1991. The change will provide clarity on what charges an incumbent water company can impose in relation to its duty to move pipes and apparatus in certain circumstances. Section 185 allows a person to request that an incumbent water company alter or remove pipes or apparatus running through his land if the position of the pipes or apparatus would prevent improvement to the land.

Section 185(5) currently allows water companies to impose on the person requiring the work such costs as are reasonably incurred in carrying out the work. There is currently a lack of clarity around what expenses are “reasonably incurred” and how such reasonable expenses are calculated. This change will allow the charges to be included within charging rules to be made under clause 17, bringing transparency and consistency for developers.

Photo of Thomas Docherty Thomas Docherty Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Will the Minister clarify what representations the Government have had from the various bodies? The clause particularly affects landowners.  Has he had a chance to discuss it with the CLA or the NFU, and are they satisfied with the provisions he is setting out?

Photo of Dan Rogerson Dan Rogerson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I have not personally discussed this in my few months in office. However, we have discussed widely on the provisions we have sought to include in the Bill—the tidying-up procedures as well as the fundamentals that we have been debating—and all organisations have had the opportunity to contribute to those consultations.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 20 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.