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Clause 41 - Withdrawal of compensation for undertakers

Water Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 10th December 2013.

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Amendments made: 42, in clause 41, page 77, line 37, at end insert—

‘( ) The Water Resources Act 1991 is amended as follows.’.

Amendment 43, in clause 41, page 77, line 38, leave out

‘of the Water Resources Act 1991’.

Amendment 44, in clause 41, page 77, line 41, at end insert—

‘( ) Section 61A (recovery of compensation from new licence-holder) is repealed.’.—(Dan Rogerson.)

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

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

It is worth noting that the Minister has friends in unusual places. The clause has been welcomed by WWF, among others, as a sensible move for ending the process by which compensation is paid at the point at which abstraction ceases. As I understand it, Ofwat now needs to consider abstraction compensation as part of its price review under the five-yearly process. As WWF and others have said, however, Ofwat does not have a great track record of looking at abstraction and sustainability. I hope the Minister realises that when we debate these issues later, the Opposition will be pushing for sustainability to be a primary duty.

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

I welcome that contribution. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to point out that the change has been welcomed, and it is very much a step in the right direction as we embark on the road of abstraction reform. Looking back to our earlier debate about the resilience duty, the provisions will go a long way to ensuring that Ofwat takes into account the whole, balanced picture, given that the environmental resilience of the catchment providing the water is a key consideration. However, as the hon. Gentleman said, I suspect that we will return to the issue in due course.

Clause 41, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.