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Thérèse Coffey to give evidence to Lords Ofwat inquiry

Monday 23 January 2023

The House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee will continue its inquiry on the work of Ofwat, the UK’s water regulator, by taking evidence from Thérèse Coffey MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 3pm on Wednesday 25 January.

The session will can be followed live on Parliament TV or in person in Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster.

Possible questions include:

  • Why has the Government failed to ensure a reduction in the levels of sewage discharged in rivers and beaches?

  • Are Ofwat’s statutory objectives clear and appropriate? Do you feel that they give the regulator a clear job to do and a clear steer in relation to difficult trade-offs, particularly in relation to the tension between long-term investment and customer bills?

  • Given the scale of sewage discharges and the state of water infrastructure, do you believe that Ofwat’s Price Review process has delivered sufficient investment in the sector? Should strategic, significant infrastructure projects be delivered outside of the Price Review process?

  • Do you feel that regulatory penalties and fines truly channel compliance, particularly in relation to pollution? Should these penalties and fines be harsher, and should the regulators be given the power to debar directors at companies responsible for serious pollution?

  • Given their past environmental performance, do you think that water companies should be trusted with a greater role in processes such as the Water Industry National Environment Programme?

  • Will greater transferring of existing water resources around the country be sufficient to ensure future water demand, or is there a need to invest in new water sources, including reservoirs?

Lord Hollick, Chair of the Committee, wrote to Thérèse Coffey with some questions prior to the evidence session. Ms Coffey failed to answer a number of questions, feeling they went “beyond the scope” of the inquiry. Read her response here. 

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