In conjunction with the Secretary of State for Wales I will today lay before the House a water protocol for England and Wales, agreed between the UK government and the Welsh Government. The protocol, which the Welsh Ministers are laying in the National Assembly for Wales in parallel, is made under section 50 of the Wales Act 2017.
The protocol reaffirms the close working between the two governments on matters relating to water resources, water supply and water quality. It underlines our commitment that no action or inaction by either administration should have any serious adverse impact on either England or Wales and crucially, that the interests of water consumers on both sides of our borders are safeguarded.
Agreement of the protocol paves the way for the Secretary of State’s powers of intervention in relation to water to be repealed. These powers, in the Government of Wales Act 2006, enable the Secretary of State to intervene if they believe an Assembly Bill, or the exercise of a devolved function, risks having a serious adverse impact on water resources, water supply or water quality in England.
The protocol replaces these intervention powers with a reciprocal agreement. The intervention powers will be repealed when the new reserved powers model of Welsh devolution come into effect on 1 April 2018.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: