Plaid Cymru calls for powers over water to be devolved to Wales
Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, has slammed proposals to “move vast volumes of water from Wales” to the southeast of England and urged Westminster to devolve powers over water to the Welsh Government.
The MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd said it would be “environmentally baffling” to move water from Wales to address drought rather than fix the 630 million litres of water lost every day by Thames Water through leaky pipes.
Thames Water has published options for tackling climate crisis-induced droughts across London and the south-east of England, which include transferring millions of litres a day from the River Thames and replacing it with 155m litres of water a day from Wales.
The UK’s Environment Agency has told Thames Water to do more to fix the 630m litres of water it leaks a day before it starts taking water from the River Thames or from Wales to tackle drought problems.
Ms Saville Roberts called on the Secretary of State for Wales to prove he is “Wales’s man in cabinet” by activating section 48 of the 2017 Wales Act, which would align the boundary for legislative competence for water with the national border – thereby fully devolving water to Wales.
Currently, legislative competence is based on pre-devolution water pipe and sewer networks rather than the national border.
“Thames Water wastes 630 million litres of water every day through leaky pipes. Rather than fix this environmentally baffling waste – they’re planning on moving vast volumes of water from Wales instead,” Ms Saville Roberts said.
“Our natural resources are being diverted elsewhere without recompense and without consultation either with local people.
“He says he’s Wales’s man in cabinet. Will he prove therefore it by activating section 48 of the Wales Act 2017 so that decisions about Welsh resources are made in Wales for the benefit of the people of Wales?”
David TC Davies, the Secretary of State responded that he is not responsible for Thames Water and criticised Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water for leaking sewage into Welsh rivers.
He failed to address the question of powers over Welsh water.
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