Welsh Government accused of inaction over water price hike
The Welsh Government has been accused of inaction following confirmation that water bills could go up by £120 a year by 2030.
Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water has detailed the price rise in a new business plan which pledges to cut river pollution and protect the environment.
Chief executive Peter Perry said that the company needed to “make a material investment in our water and wastewater systems to meet the challenges of climate change, protect our rivers, and improve the resilience of our water supplies.”
By 2030, the company said they plan to:
– Improving drinking water compliance and reduce customer complaints by 57%
– Reducing leakage by a quarter in its network and help customers address leaks in their homes and businesses
– Cut the total number of pollution incidents by 24%;
– Work towards a ‘lead free Wales’ by replacing 7,500 customers’ lead pipes
– Slash running costs by £42 million
– Contribute £13 million a year between 2025-30 to support customers and expand current schemes
However, the plans will see the average cost of water bills in Wales soar. This is in addition to the company’s February announcement that customers needed to pay a further £14 a year more for their water.
Responding to the news that the plans would require the average monthly bill to be £5 higher in 2025, and £10 by 2030, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for energy, Delyth Jewell MS, said: “People in Wales are already facing rising costs and inflicting higher bills on them during a cost of living crisis is unacceptable – in this instance, the polluter should pay to clean up our water.
“The Welsh Government is hamstrung by its own inaction in requesting the transfer of power over water. The current devolved framework in Wales falls well short of where it needs to be, and further devolution of powers is needed to enable the government to effectively address the problem of sewage discharges into Wales’s rivers and seas.
The MS continued: “Wales has a constitutional right to power over water, which would give us the means to better manage our own water, address the problem of sewage, and tackle soaring water bills.”
Julie James MS, The Minister for Climate Change, said that although she agreed that Wales should have full control over its water resources, it was “important to say that this is already largely the case as a result of the ongoing process of devolution, including through the various relationships between the Government, water companies in Wales, NRW and Ofwat.”
She added that she agreed that “the pricing mechanisms are out of kilter and need to be reviewed, and I will certainly be very happy to take away the idea that we should look again at whether we need the statutory protections put in place on top of the inter-governmental protocols.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.