There has been coverage today about a letter from the House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee to the Environment Secretary about the regulation of the water industry.
It covers a number of criticisms around the role of government, with a focus on investment, water supply, regulatory powers and enforcement.
The letter follows the Committee’s recent report on this topic, published in March, and follow-up evidence sessions held in the summer following the government’s Plan for Water.
In response, a Defra spokesperson said:
We take our oversight of the water industry incredibly seriously and firmly disagree with these conclusions.
We are delivering increased investment, stronger regulation, and tougher enforcement right across the sector. This includes being the first government to set ambitious targets for water companies to address storm overflows, which the High Court has ruled go even further than existing law.
We agree that more needs to be done. That’s why we are introducing unlimited penalties for polluters, driving the largest infrastructure programme in water company history, and have set clear expectations for water companies to deliver the changes that we all want to see.
Additionally, the report questioned delays in bringing forward a proposed ban of wet wipes containing plastic.
A Defra spokesperson said:
We are committed to meeting the overwhelming public demand for a ban on wet wipes containing plastic. We are working closely with the devolved administrations to shortly launch a public consultation and to bring this ban into effect swiftly.