Water Bill

Explanatory Notes


INTRODUCTION

1. These Explanatory Notes relate to the Water Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 27 June 2013. They have been prepared by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in order to assist the reader of the Bill and help to inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

2. The notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.

SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND

3. The Water Bill will enable the Government to implement proposals set out in Water for Life CM 8230 (the "Water White Paper") published by the Government on 8 December 2011. The Bill was previously published in draft (CM 8375) on 10 July 2012 for Pre-Legislative Scrutiny by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. Their report was published on 1 February 2013 (HC 674) and the Government’s response (CM 8643) was published on 27 June alongside the Bill.

4. In the main, the Bill amends the Water Industry Act ("the WIA") 1991, but also introduces changes to other legislation. The Bill consists of six parts, 57 clauses and 10 Schedules and below is a brief summary:

Part 1: Water Industry

Chapter 1: Water supply licences and sewerage licences (Clauses 1-7 and Schedules 1-5)

5. This Chapter focuses on expansion of the water supply licensing (WSL) regime, introduction of sewerage licences and the creation of a cross-border retail market between England and Wales and Scotland.

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6. The Bill amends the WIA by expanding and revising the current WSL regime and adding a sewerage licensing regime. It also increases choice in the retail market by enabling earlier repeal of the threshold which sets the water usage limit for when non-household customers can switch supplier. This will allow all business, charity and public sector customers to choose their water and sewerage supplier for the first time, and enable multi-site operators to tender for one supplier across Great Britain.

7. To facilitate a cross-border retail market between England and Wales and Scotland the Bill amends the WIA and equivalent Scots Law. This will allow Ofwat and the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) to accept a single application for a water services licence in each other’s jurisdiction.

Chapter 2: Water and sewerage undertakers (Clauses 8-21)

8. This Chapter focuses on arrangements between undertakers, inset appointments, duties of Ofwat and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on mergers, the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers charging guidance, Ofwat’s charging rules, undertakers’ charges and sustainable drainage.

9. The Government wants to increase the interconnectivity between undertakers so that water resources can be used more flexibly and efficiently. Therefore the Bill will amend the WIA to introduce codes and charging rules from Ofwat that are intended to increase transparency and streamline negotiations between undertakers, including for new appointees. These provisions are mirrored in main connections for undertakers’ sewerage systems.

10. The current special merger regime within the WIA acts as a disincentive against water company mergers and creates uncertainty when a merger is proposed or has taken place. Therefore the Bill will amend the WIA to allow the CMA to determine whether or not to make a merger reference, or to accept undertakings to compensate for the loss of a comparator in lieu of a reference. The Bill also amends the WIA to include a new duty on the CMA to keep the merger turnover threshold under review (currently set at an annual turnover of £10 million where the acquiring undertaker, the target undertaker or both undertakers together meet or exceed this threshold).

11. The WIA requires water and sewerage companies to agree charging schemes with Ofwat prior to charging their customers. This is generally seen to be an overly burdensome and regulatory approach requiring significant concentration of resources each year. Therefore the Bill repeals this duty and replaces it with a duty for Ofwat to produce charging rules with which the companies must comply in setting their charges schemes. Alongside this the Bill also allows for the creation of a new charging scheme for developers connecting to water and sewerage infrastructure.

12. The Bill will also amend the WIA to give undertakers the power to construct, maintain and operate drainage systems.

Chapter 3: Regulation of the water industry (Clauses 22-38 and Schedule 6)

13. This Chapter focuses on the regulation of the water industry (general duties on Ofwat and regulations of relevant undertakers, water supply licensees and sewerage licensees), appeals of codes, adjudication functions and the charging powers of the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

14. These measures amend the general duties with respect to the water industry. These apply to the Secretary of State, the Welsh Ministers and Ofwat. There is a new primary duty to secure the long-term resilience of water supply and sewerage systems against environmental pressures, population growth and changes in consumer behaviour. There is also a new duty to secure that undertakers do not show undue preference or undue discrimination in their dealings with other undertakers and licensees. In addition, the Bill creates a new power allowing for the production of a single consolidated statement of the Government’s strategic priorities and objectives for Ofwat to follow when carrying out its statutory functions.

15. To support these reforms, the Bill provides Ofwat with powers to regulate the water and sewerage market as competition develops.

16. There is also a measure to reduce the frequency with which undertakers are required to produce drought plans to a maximum five-yearly cycle. This will help reduce the administrative burden on water undertakers and bring the drought plans cycle in line with that for Water Resource Management Plans. If necessary the Secretary of State or Welsh Ministers can compel water undertakers to prepare a drought plan more frequently.

17. The Bill includes a new measure that amends the WIA to allow the Secretary of State to make regulations for appeals to the CMA against a decision of Ofwat to revise a designated code or not to make a revision following consultation about a proposed revision. There is also a new power for the Secretary of State to specify alternative parties to perform some of Ofwat’s adjudication responsibilities. This is intended to enable disputes to be resolved in a timely matter.

18. There is also an amendment to the WIA to enable the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) to charge fees for the cost of its regulatory activities beyond 2017. This replaces a similar power in the Public Bodies Act 2011. This will also enable the DWI to adjust its fees and is in line with Government policy that businesses which benefit from regulation should bear the costs, not the taxpayer.

Chapter 4: Supplementary (clauses 39 -4 0 and Schedule 7)

19. This Chapter focuses on modifications of appointment and licence conditions and introduce a Schedule containing further amendments.

20. The main clause provides a new power that allows Ofwat, for a limited time, to make changes to undertakers’ conditions of appointments and licensed water suppliers’ licence conditions in order to implement the Bill’s reforms. Alongside this there is a power for the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers to give direction to Ofwat on any proposed changes.

21. There is a further clause giving effect to Schedule 7 of the Bill, which covers the amendments that are consequential on the provision made by Part 1 of the Bill.

Part 2: Water resources (Clauses 4 1 -4 3 )

22. This part of the Water Bill focuses on water resources and includes withdrawal of compensation for water undertakers, main river maps in England and Wales and Environment Agency maps of waterworks.

23. The Bill supports the Government’s priority of restoring sustainable abstraction. It removes the ability of undertakers to claim compensation for losses resulting from modification and revocations of their abstraction licences. Undertakers will instead consider sustainability reductions as part of their mainstream business planning process, and recover the costs through Ofwat’s Price Review process.

24. There is also an amendment to the WRA to transfer responsibility, from the Secretary of State to the Environment Agency in England and from the Welsh Ministers to the Natural Resources Body for Wales in Wales, for maintaining the main river maps for England and Wales, and to require that the map shall be kept in electronic form. There are also provisions concerning amendments to these maps, consultations on new maps and entitlements to free copies.

25. The Bill also repeals part of the WRA which removes the duty on the Environment Agency to keep and maintain a public register of maps showing the pipes and waterworks it holds.

Part 3: Environmental regulation (Clauses 4 4 -4 6 and Schedule 8)

26. This part of the Water Bill focuses on the environmental permitting regime and the power to consolidate into that regime the requirements relating to water abstraction and impoundment licences, flood defence consents and fish passage approvals. It contains powers which enable a single set of regulations covering the existing pollution prevention and control permit requirements and new regulations for abstraction licences, flood defence consents and fish pass approvals. This single set of regulations will enable operators to apply for one rather than multiple permits.

Part 4: Flood insurance (Clause 4 7 )

27. This part provides a placeholder clause to address the availability and affordability of insurance for UK households at high risk of flooding. This clause will be revisited during the passage of the Bill with the intention of enabling the Government to meet its commitment to secure new arrangements following the expiry of the current voluntary agreement (the Statement of Principles) between the Government and the insurance industry.

Part 5: Miscellaneous (Clauses 48- 5 1 and Schedules 9-10)

28. This part includes measures to reduce some of the bureaucracy relating to the governance of Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) by simplifying the process for making structural changes to IDBs wholly or mainly in England and enabling the Secretary of State to make regulations establishing a new procedure for IDBs wholly in England to follow when making byelaws. It removes restrictions on the way in which public notices for IDBs in England are published. It also replaces various statutory references to Regional Flood Defence Committees with references to Regional Flood and Coastal Committees.

Part 6: General and final (Clauses 5 2 -5 7 )

29. Part 6 contains clauses conferring powers to make consequential amendments and transitional provision, and clauses relating to the extent of the Bill, commencement or provisions of the Bill, and the short title.

OVERVIEW OF THE STRUCTURE OF THE BILL

The overall structure of the Water Bill is:

Part

Title

Page

One

Water industry

1

Chpt One

Water supply licences and sewerage licences

Chpt Two

Water and sewerage undertakers

8

Chpt Three

Regulation of the water industry

57

Chpt Four

Supplementary

77

Two

Water resources

78

Three

Environmental regulation

87

Four

Flood insurance

91

Five

Miscellaneous

Six

General and final

93

Schedule One

Water supply licences: authorisations

95

Schedule Two

Water undertakers’ duties as regards water supply licensees

97

Schedule Three

Sewerage licences: authorisations

113

Schedule Four

Sewerage undertakers’ duties as regards sewerage licensees

115

Schedule Five

Extension of licensing provisions in relation to Wales

129

Schedule Six

Procedure on appeals under section 207A of the Water Industry Act 1991

137

Schedule Seven

Further amendments

140

Schedule Eight

Regulation of the water environment

165

Part One: Purposes for which provision may be made

Part Two: Supplementary provision

171

Schedule Nine

Publication requirements under the Land Drainage Act 1991

174

Schedule 10

Amendments relating to Regional Flood and Coastal Defence Committees

176

TERRITORIAL EXTENT AND APPLICATION

30. The majority of the Water Bill extends to England and Wales only. However, there are two measures that also extend to Scotland – creation of a cross-border water and sewerage retail market between England and Wales and Scotland, and extension of the environmental permitting regime (in relation to fish passages only) to the Border River Esk but it will not apply to the lower River Tweed or its tributaries in England. Furthermore, measures on flood insurance are UK wide.

31. Significant parts of water industry and environment law are devolved in relation to Wales. The areas of appointment of water and sewerage undertakers do not follow the national boundary. Under section 108 of, and paragraph 19 of Schedule 7 to, the Government of Wales Act 2006, the National Assembly for Wales has legislative competence (amongst other things) in relation to "water supply" and "water resources management (including reservoirs)" in relation to Wales. Wales does not have legislative competence in relation to sewerage services, the "appointment and regulation of any water undertaker whose area is not wholly or mainly in Wales" or the licensing and regulation of licensed water suppliers, (apart from regulation of licensed activities using the supply systems of water undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales). Under various enactments, the Welsh Ministers have executive competence in relation to water and sewerage undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales and a range of other matters.

32. In essence, the Bill gives the Welsh Ministers separate powers to commence the new licensing arrangements in relation to the areas of water and sewerage undertakers that are wholly or mainly in Wales (Dee Valley Water and Welsh Water). Until then, in those areas, the existing water supply licensing regime will continue to apply, although the new approach to arrangements between licensees and undertakers has effect in relation to all of England and Wales. The Welsh Ministers can remove the threshold requirement for retail water supply under clause 3, so far as it relates to premises supplied using the supply system of water undertakers whose areas are wholly or mainly in Wales.

33. Water industry and environment law are wholly devolved in relation to Scotland. The Bill includes provisions that will help establish a cross-border market in water and sewerage retail services. Secondary legislation will enable applications for water services or sewerage services licences made to the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) under section 6 of the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 to be treated as applications for a retail authorisation or a restricted retail authorisation to Ofwat under the WIA as soon as the application is forwarded by WICS to Ofwat. Scottish Ministers have similar powers to allow WICS to grant licences to applicants that submit applications to Ofwat.

34. The Government proceeds in accordance with a convention that it will not normally ask Parliament to legislate in relation to matters within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly or the Scottish Parliament without their respective consents.

COMMENTARY

PART 1

WATER INDUSTRY

CHAPTER 1

WATER SUPPLY LICENCES AND SEWERAGE LICENCES

Expansion of water supply licensing

Clause 1: Types of water supply licence and arrangements with water undertakers

35. This clause replaces the existing section 17A of the WIA with a new provision on the issue of water supply licences. New section 17A allows Ofwat to issue water supply licences which give the holder certain rights with respect to the water supply system and provision of water supply services to eligible premises in undertakers’ areas in England and Wales. "Eligible premises" means premises that may be supplied under a retail or restricted retail authorisation as appropriate (see below).

36. Subsections (2) to (4) extend the concept of different authorisations for carrying out different activities under the water supply licence. The purposes of these authorisations are set out in paragraphs 1 to 8 of Schedule 1 – see below. The existing retail and supplementary authorisations are retained for licensees using the supply system of an undertaker wholly or mainly in Wales, under the names "a restricted retail authorisation" and "a supplementary authorisation" respectively.

37. This clause also introduces a new section 17AA in the WIA which outlines in subsections (1) and (2) the persons that Ofwat must consult before issuing licences with certain authorisations. The Government’s intention is that these consultees can then make an assessment of whether the applicant is a suitable person for inputting water into the public supply system. This includes an obligation to consult the Welsh Ministers on the appointment of licensees using the supply systems of undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales.

38. Subsection (3) of new section 17AA excludes water undertakers from holding a water supply licence, which means they must set up a company or partnership, for example, to apply for a water supply licence if they want to enter the market.

39. The effect of subsections (4) and (5) of new section 17AA is to allow only limited companies to hold a water supply licence with a wholesale or supplementary authorisation. This allows these licencees to be subject to the special administration regime under sections 23 to 25 of the WIA should they become insolvent or fail to meet their statutory obligations where their supplies are designated as strategic under sections 66G and 66H of the WIA. This would allow for the continuation of essential water services to customers if the limited company gets into difficulties (administration and by extension special administration is a mechanism for handling cases involving insolvent companies rather than bankrupt individuals, partnerships etc.).

40. This clause also gives effect to Schedules 1 and 2. Schedule 5 separately enables the Welsh Ministers to commence the reformed regime in Wales – see paragraph 52 on Clause 5 below.

Clause 2: The supply system of a water undertaker

41. This clause adds a new subsection (4A) to section 17B of WIA that extends the meaning of a water undertaker’s "supply system" for the purposes of activities under a water supply licence in the areas of water undertakers wholly or mainly in England. The current definition, which only covers the mains and pipes of a water undertaker downstream of a water treatment works (often called the "potable" supply system) and discrete non-potable supply systems, is extended to cover treatment works, reservoirs and other water storage facilities. This means that water supply licensees with a wholesale authorisation will have more options to introduce water for the purpose of supplying premises. The existing definition for the supply systems used by undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales is retained.

Clause 3: The threshold requirement

42. Currently under section 17A(3)(b) of the WIA, licensees may only supply to premises whose water consumption exceeds the threshold requirement set out in section 17D. In order to allow every non-household customer to switch to water supply by a licensee, the UK Government would expect to repeal this threshold for premises within the areas of water undertakers that are wholly or mainly in England at the same time as the introduction of the new water supply licensing arrangements. This would be done by commencing Clause 1 and Schedule 1 to the bill which would bring new Schedule 2A to the WIA into force. Clause 1 substitutes all of section 17A and, under paragraph (7)(b) of inserted Schedule 2A, only water supply licensees holding restricted retail authorisations (that is, those using the networks of water undertakers based wholly or mainly in Wales) would remain subject to the threshold requirement.

43. This would remain the case unless and until the new licensing arrangements were fully commenced in Wales, or paragraph 7(b) was otherwise repealed.

44. Under subsection (1)(a) of clause 3, the power to repeal the threshold could also be exercised before the introduction of the new licensing arrangements by repealing section 17A(3)(b) of the WIA. This power would lie with the Secretary of State for premises in undertaker areas wholly or mainly in England and the Welsh Ministers in undertaker areas that are wholly or mainly in Wales. If 17A(3)(b) was repealed in relation to undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales, paragraph 9(b) of Schedule 2A would also be repealed, thereby preventing it from ever coming into force.

Introduction of sewerage licences

Clause 4: Types of sewerage licence and arrangements with sewerage undertakers

45. This clause inserts a new section 17BA into the WIA introducing sewerage licences. Under this clause Ofwat can issue sewerage licences which give the holder certain rights with respect to the sewerage system and provision of sewerage services to eligible premises in the areas of sewerage undertakers wholly or mainly in England.

46. Subsection (2) lists the different authorisations for carrying out different activities under the sewerage licence. The purposes of these authorisations are set out in paragraphs 1 to 7 of Schedule 3 – see below.

47. Subsection (7) of new section 17BA defines the sewerage system of a sewerage undertaker as the system of public sewers, the facilities for emptying them and dealing with their contents, and the lateral drains they must maintain, under the duty of a sewerage undertaker to provide a sewerage system to ensure its area is effectually drained – that is set out in section 94 of the WIA.

48. This clause also inserts a new section 17BB into the WIA. Subsection (1) requires Ofwat to consult the Secretary of State, the Environment Agency and the Natural Resources Body for Wales before granting a sewerage licence with a wholesale authorisation or a disposal authorisation. The Government’s intention is that consultees are given an opportunity to assess the suitability of the applicant to use the public sewer system.

49. Subsection (2) of new section 17BB excludes sewerage undertakers from holding a sewerage licence if it contains a retail authorisation or wholesale authorisation, which means they must set up a company or partnership, for example, to apply for a sewerage licence if they want to enter the retail or wholesale markets. Sewerage undertakers are, however, permitted to hold licences with disposal authorisations in order to encourage more trading of wastewater and sewage sludge between sewerage undertakers’ areas.

50. The effect of subsections (3) and (4) of new section 17BB is to allow only limited companies to hold a sewerage licence with a wholesale or disposal authorisation. This allows these licencees to be subject to the special administration regime under sections 23 to 25 of the WIA should they become insolvent or fail to meet their statutory obligations where their services are designated as strategic under new sections 117M and 117N of the WIA (included within Schedule 4 to the Bill). This would allow for the continuation of essential sewerage services to customers if the limited company gets into difficulties (administration and by extension special administration is a mechanism for handling cases involving insolvent companies rather than bankrupt individuals, partnerships etc.).

51. This clause also gives effect to Schedules 3 and 4.

Application as regards Wales

Clause 5: Water supply and sewerage licensing changes applied as regards Wales

52. This clause would apply the new water supply and sewerage licensing arrangements to the areas of undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales as they apply to undertaker areas wholly or mainly in England. The Welsh Ministers have the power to bring Schedule 5 into force. Under clause 56 the Welsh Ministers can only exercise their power through an order under the affirmative procedure before the National Assembly for Wales. The amendments in Schedule 5 amend or repeal words of the WIA, as amended by other provisions in this Bill, that prevent the new water supply authorisations and the new sewerage licences from applying to undertakers whose areas are wholly or mainly in Wales.

Licensing arrangements between England and Wales and Scotland

Clause 6: Arrangements with the Water Industry Commission for Scotland

53. This clause inserts a new section 17FA into the WIA which allows the Secretary of State to make regulations that would allow for an application to the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) for a water services licence or sewerage services licence to be also treated as an application for a water supply licence or sewerage licence respectively in England and Wales. Such licences would only include retail or restricted retail authorisations as there are no provisions in Scottish law that would licence activities similar to those allowed for in the wholesale, supplementary or disposal authorisations applicable in England and Wales.

54. This clause also inserts a new section 17FB into the WIA which requires Ofwat to forward applications for water supply or sewerage licences and associated information to WICS, subject to the requirements set out in subsection (2). The regulations may also set a timetable for forwarding the application.

55. The intention behind the clause is to assist in the development of a market across England and Scotland in relation to water supply and sewerage retail services for non-household customers and in Wales for eligible water supply customers.

Clause 7: Arrangements with the Water Services Regulation Authority

56. This clause amends the Water Services etc (Scotland) Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) to introduce into Scots Law equivalent provisions to those under clause 6.

57. This clause inserts a new paragraph 1A into Schedule 2 to the 2005 Act which allows the Scottish Ministers to introduce, by order, provisions that would allow for an application to Ofwat for a water supply or sewerage licence to be also treated as an application for a water services or sewerage licences respectively in Scotland.

58. This clause also inserts a new paragraph 1B into Schedule 2 to the 2005 Act which requires WICS to forward applications for water services or sewerage services licences, and associated information to Ofwat, subject to the requirements set out in sub paragraph (2). The order may also set a timetable for forwarding the application.

CHAPTER 2

WATER AND SEWERAGE UNDERTAKERS

Arrangements between relevant undertakers

Clause 8: Bulk supply of water by water undertakers

59. This clause replaces sections 40 and 40A of the WIA with provisions to regulate bulk water supply agreements between "the supplier" (a water undertaker) and a "qualifying person" (another water undertaker or a person who has made an application to become an undertaker). These provisions apply when one of the parties makes an application to Ofwat for a determination. Certain enforcement provisions of the Competition Act 1998 are disapplied for these agreements for some purposes.

60. New section 40 allows Ofwat, on the application of one of the parties to the ensuing agreement, to make an order for the supplier to make a bulk water supply to a qualifying person, and for that qualifying person to take it, under such terms and conditions as Ofwat specifies. As under current legislation, Ofwat can only make an order if it is satisfied that the bulk supply is necessary or expedient for securing the efficient use of water resources and where it is satisfied that the parties are unable to come to an agreement themselves. An agreement imposed by order takes effect as an agreement between the parties and would therefore be enforceable by private law.

61. New section 40A applies similar provisions as under new section 40 when any party to an existing bulk supply agreement wishes to vary or terminate a bulk water supply arrangement. A bulk supply agreement includes one which was made of the parties’ own volition and one made or varied by order under section 40 or 40A.

62. New section 40B gives Ofwat a power to produce or revise one or more codes relating to bulk supply agreements in specific cases or more generally. These codes may set out standard or specific terms and conditions between the parties which may be mandatory or not; may include principles for determining what terms and conditions are suitable for particular bulk supply agreements, or more generally; and may also include the procedures for when a request to agree to make a bulk supply is received by an undertaker and steps to be taken to reach, amend or terminate an agreement. Ofwat has a power of direction where it believes an undertaker is not acting in accordance with the codes. The direction is enforceable under section 18 of the WIA.

63. New section 40C outlines the procedures that Ofwat must follow when producing a code, including a requirement to consult on the content of the proposed code. Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers may direct Ofwat not to issue the code or to amend it as per a direction where a code relates to bulk supplies between undertakers within their respective jurisdictions. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers may issue a joint direction if a code relates to bulk supplies between undertakers wholly or mainly in England and undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales. The relevant minister may only use this power of direction once and only in relation to the first edition of the code.

64. New section 40D outlines the procedure that Ofwat must follow when it considers that revisions it intends to make to a code are minor or urgent in nature. The procedure in section 40C does not have to be followed in relation to such revisions, but notice provisions do apply. Minor changes to a code might include small changes which are uncontroversial or technical amendments (e.g. a change in contact details) while urgent changes might include revisions that are needed to protect consumers, public health or the environment. Urgent changes cease to have effect at the end of a period of six months following the issuing of the revision. The intention is that Ofwat would use this time to consult on making the revision permanent or to consider replacing it with an alternative revision that provides a more permanent solution to the issue that it was seeking to rectify.

65. New section 40E allows Ofwat to publish and revise rules about charges which may be levied by water undertakers on other qualifying persons under bulk water supply arrangements. Ofwat has a power of direction, enforceable by section 18, if it believes an undertaker is not acting in accordance with the charging rules.

66. New section 40F permits Ofwat’s rules on charging to include provisions allowing a party to a bulk supply agreement to apply for a reduced charge when they or their customers take steps to reduce pressure on water resources (for example by agreeing to take less water during high peak periods or during droughts, etc.). In accepting an application for a reduced charge, Ofwat may impose conditions on the parties to a bulk supply agreement, and rules may include requirements to notify Ofwat of the reduced charge.

67. New section 40G outlines the procedure Ofwat must follow before issuing rules on charging, including a requirement to consult. In preparing the draft rules Ofwat must have regard to any charging guidance published by the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers (see below and also clause 36 which provides for further guidance on charging rules). Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers may direct Ofwat not to issue the rules or to amend them as per a direction where the rules relate to bulk supplies between undertakers within their respective jurisdictions. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers may issue a joint direction if the rules relate to bulk supplies between undertakers wholly or mainly in England and undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales. Ofwat may not publish the rules until this 28 day period has elapsed.

68. New section 40H enables the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers to produce and revise charging guidance to Ofwat relevant to bulk supplies within their respective jurisdictions or jointly where the rules specifically relate to bulk supplies between undertakers wholly or mainly in England and undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers are required to consult each other and other appropriate persons on their draft guidance before it is published.

Clause 9: Main connections into sewerage systems

69. This clause replaces existing section 110A of the WIA with a provision to regulate main connection agreements between a sewerage undertaker and "a qualifying person" (another sewerage undertaker or a person who has made an application to become an undertaker). New sections 101A and 101B apply when one of the parties makes an application to Ofwat for a determination. Certain enforcement provisions of the Competition Act 1998 are disapplied for these agreements for some purposes.

70. New section 110A allows Ofwat, on the application of one of the parties to the ensuing agreement, to make an order for a sewerage undertaker to permit a qualifying person to connect to its system under such terms and conditions as Ofwat specifies. As under current legislation, Ofwat can only make an order if it is satisfied that the main connection is necessary or expedient for the purposes of the provision of sewerage services and where it is satisfied that the parties are unable to come to an agreement themselves. An agreement imposed by order takes effect as an agreement between the parties and would therefore be enforceable by private law.

71. New section 110B applies similar provisions as under new section 110A when any party to a main connection agreement wishes to vary or terminate the main connection arrangement. A main connection agreement includes one which was made of the parties, own volition and one made or varied by order under section 110A or 110B.

72. New section 110C gives Ofwat a power to produce or revise one or more codes relating to main connection agreements in specific cases or more generally. These codes may set out standard or specific terms and conditions between the parties which may be mandatory or not; may include principles for determining what terms and conditions are suitable for particular bulk supply agreements, or more generally; and may also include the procedures for when a request to agree to make a main connection is received by an undertaker and steps to be taken to reach, amend or terminate an agreement. Ofwat has a power of direction where it believes an undertaker is not acting in accordance with the codes. The direction is enforceable under section 18 of the WIA.

73. New section 110D outlines the procedures that Ofwat must follow when producing a code, including a requirement to consult. Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers may direct Ofwat not to issue the code or to amend it as per a direction where a code relates to bulk supplies between undertakers within their respective jurisdictions. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers may issue a joint direction if the code relates to main connections between undertakers wholly or mainly in England and undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales. The relevant minister may only use this power of direction once and only in relation to the first edition of the code.

74. New section 110E outlines the procedure that Ofwat must follow when it considers that revisions it intends to make to a code are minor or urgent in nature and corresponds to what is explained above in relation to section 40D.

75. New section 110F allows Ofwat to publish and revise rules about charges which may be levied by sewerage undertakers on other qualifying persons under main connection arrangements. Ofwat has a power of direction, enforceable by section 18, if it believes an undertaker is not acting in accordance with the charging rules.

76. New section 110G permits Ofwat’s rules on charging to include provisions allowing a party to a main connection agreement to apply for a reduced charge when they or their customers take steps to reduce pressure on sewerage networks (for example by agreeing to introduce alternative infrastructure to deal with surface water during wet seasons, etc.). In accepting an application for a reduced charge, Ofwat may impose conditions on the parties to a main connection agreement, and rules may include requirements to notify Ofwat of the reduced charge.

77. New section 110H outlines the procedure Ofwat must follow before issuing rules on charging for services connected to a mains connection, including a requirement to consult. In preparing the draft rules Ofwat must have regard to any charging guidance published by the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers (see below and also clause 36 which provides for further guidance on charging rules). Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers may direct Ofwat not to issue the rules or to amend them as per a direction where the rules relate to main connections between undertakers within their respective jurisdictions. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers may issue a joint direction if the rules relate to main connections between undertakers wholly or mainly in England and undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales.

78. New sections 110I enables the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers to produce and revise charging guidance to Ofwat relevant to main connections between undertakers within their respective jurisdictions or jointly in relation to mains connections between sewerage undertakers wholly and mainly in England and wholly or mainly in Wales. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers are required to consult each other and other appropriate persons on their draft guidance before it is published.

Agreements to adopt infrastructure

Clause 10: Agreement s by water undertaker to adopt infrastructure

79. This clause amends section 51A and replaces section 51B and 51C with provisions to regulate arrangements between a water undertaker and any person seeking to provide water mains or supply pipes for eventual adoption by the water undertaker (section 51A agreements). These provisions apply when such a person makes an application to Ofwat for a determination. Such a person might be a developer constructing new premises that it wants connected to the water supply network or a pipe-laying company acting on a developer’s behalf. Certain enforcement provisions of the Competition Act 1998 are disapplied for these agreements for some purposes.

80. New section 51B allows Ofwat, on the application of a person wanting a water undertaker to adopt his mains or pipes, to make an order for future adoption under such terms and conditions as Ofwat specifies. Ofwat may not force the adoption of mains or pipes by the undertaker if there is a contravention of any of the requirements of regulations made under section 74 of the WIA. An agreement imposed by order takes effect as an agreement between the parties and would therefore be enforceable by private law.

81. New section 51C applies similar provisions as under new section 51B when any party to an existing section 51A agreement wishes to vary or terminate the adoption arrangement. An agreement includes one which was made of the parties’ own volition and one made or varied by order.

82. New section 51CA gives Ofwat a power to produce or revise one or more codes relating to section 51A agreements in specific cases or more generally. These codes may set out standard or specific terms and conditions between the parties which may be mandatory or not; may include principles for determining what terms and conditions are suitable for particular section 51A agreements, or more generally; the circumstances in which it is appropriate for the person seeking adoption to carry out works instead of the water undertaker and may also include the procedures for when a request to agree is received by an undertaker and steps to be taken to reach, amend or terminate an agreement. Ofwat has a power of direction where it believes an undertaker is not acting in accordance with the codes. The direction is enforceable under section 18 of the WIA.

83. New section 51CB outlines the procedures that Ofwat must follow when producing a code, including a requirement to consult the DWI and other relevant persons. Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers may direct Ofwat not to issue the code or to amend it as per a direction. The Welsh Ministers’ powers in this regard only relate to a code, or to so much of a code, that relates to arrangements with water undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales. The relevant minister can only use their power of direction once in relation to the first edition of the code.

84. New section 51CC outlines the procedure that Ofwat must follow when it considers that revisions it intends to make to a code are minor or urgent in nature.

85. New section 51CD allows Ofwat to publish and revise rules about charges which may be levied by water undertakers under section 51A agreements. Ofwat has a power of direction, enforceable by section 18, if it believes an undertaker is not acting in accordance with the charging rules.

86. New section 51CE requires Ofwat to consult relevant persons about the draft rules. In preparing the draft rules Ofwat must have regard to any charging guidance published by the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers (see below and also clause 36 which provides for further guidance on charging rules).

87. New section 51CF enables the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers to produce and revise charging guidance to Ofwat relevant to bulk supplies within their respective jurisdictions. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers are required to consult each other and relevant persons on their draft guidance before it is published.

Clause 11: Agreement s by sewerage undertaker to adopt infrastructure

88. This clause amends section 104 and inserts new sections 105ZA to 105ZH to regulate arrangements between a sewerage undertaker and any person seeking to provide sewers, drains or sewerage disposal works for eventual adoption by the sewerage undertaker (section 104 agreements). Such a person may be a developer constructing new premises that it would like to connect to the public sewerage system or a pipe-laying company acting on behalf of a developer. These provisions apply when such a person makes an application to Ofwat for a determination. Certain enforcement provisions of the Competition Act 1998 are disapplied for these agreements for some purposes.

89. New section 105ZA allows Ofwat, on the application of a person wanting to make a section 105 agreement with a sewerage undertaker, to make an order under such terms and conditions as Ofwat specifies. An agreement imposed by order takes effect as an agreement between the parties and would therefore be enforceable by private law.

90. New section 105ZB applies similar provisions as under new section 105ZA when any party to an existing section 104 agreement wishes to vary or terminate the adoption arrangement. An agreement includes one which was made of the parties’ own volition and one made or varied by order.

91. New section 105ZC gives Ofwat a power to produce one or more codes relating to section 104 agreements in specific cases or more generally. These codes may set out standard or specific terms and conditions between the parties which may be mandatory or not; may include principles for determining what terms and conditions are suitable for particular section 104 agreements, or more generally; the circumstances in which it is appropriate for the person seeking adoption to carry out works instead of the sewerage undertaker and may also include the procedures for when a request to agree is received by an undertaker and steps to be taken to reach, amend or terminate an agreement. Ofwat has a power of direction where it believes an undertaker is not acting in accordance with the codes. The direction is enforceable under section 18 of the WIA.

92. New section 105ZD outlines the procedures that Ofwat must follow when producing a code, including a requirement to consult. Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers may direct Ofwat not to issue the code or to amend it as per a direction. The Welsh Ministers’ powers in this regard only relate to a code, or to so much of a code, that relates to arrangements with sewerage undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales. The relevant minister may only use this power of direction once and only in relation to the first edition of the code.

93. New section 105ZE outlines the procedure that Ofwat must follow when it considers that revisions it intends to make to a code are minor or urgent in nature.

94. New section 105ZF allows Ofwat to publish and revise rules about charges which may be levied by sewerage undertakers under section 104 agreements. Ofwat has a power of direction, enforceable by section 18, if it believes an undertaker is not acting in accordance with the charging rules.

95. New section 105ZG requires Ofwat to consult relevant persons about the draft rules. In preparing the draft rules Ofwat must have regard to any charging guidance published by the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers (see below and also clause 36 which provides for further guidance on charging rules).

96. New sections 105ZH enables the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers to produce and revise charging guidance to Ofwat relevant to bulk supplies within their respective jurisdictions. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers are required to consult each other and relevant persons on their draft guidance before it is published.

Arrangements for water undertakers to take water

Clause 12: Arrangements for water undertakers to take water from other persons

97. This clause inserts Chapter 2B into the WIA. New section 66M provides the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers with powers to make regulations that would set in place provisions that confer functions on themselves and Ofwat disallow Ofwat and the CMA from using powers in the Competition Act 1998 in respect to water supply agreements between undertakers and other persons.

98. Section 66N provides that the regulations may require a water undertaker to take a water supply from a relevant person and include provisions allowing such a water supply agreement to be varied or terminated, The regulations must include provisions permitting Ofwat to make an order imposing a water supply agreement only on an application by one of the parties and where they are unable to come to an agreement. The regulations may also include provisions outlining other circumstances when Ofwat may make an order.

99. Section 66O enables the regulations to provide Ofwat with powers to issue enforceable codes and charging rules to regulate water supply agreements and provide the Secretary of State or the Welsh Minsters with powers to issue guidance on the content of Ofwat’s charging rules. The regulations may also make consequential changes to legislation.

100. New section 66P sets out the procedures the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers must follow when producing the regulations, including the bodies that the ministers must consult before laying the draft regulations before Parliament or the Assembly.

Inset appointments

Clause 13: Procedure with respect to inset appointments

101. This clause amends section 8 of the WIA by extending the list of persons that should receive notices as part of the application process to be an inset appointee. Currently the lists only consist of the local undertaker, the National Rivers Authority (NRA) and local authorities in the area of the proposed inset.

102. The clause removes the name of the NRA from the list of consultees and adds the Environment Agency and the Natural Resources Body for Wales (the NRA’s successor bodies), and for changes to water supply appointees, either the Chief Inspector of Drinking Water or the Chief Inspector of Drinking Water for Wales as applicable.

Duty of CMA to refer mergers of relevant undertakers

Clause 14: Exceptions to duty and undertakings in lieu of merger references

103. This clause inserts new provisions in the WIA to reform the special merger regime in sections 32 to 35 of the WIA. This regime currently requires the OFT to make a referral to the Competition Commission where there is a merger between undertakers where one or other of the parties to the merger has an annual turnover of £10 million or more. Under paragraph 3 of Schedule 4ZA to the WIA on a merger reference under section 32, the Competition Commission has to determine whether the loss of one or more undertakers (comparators) is going to impact Ofwat’s ability to regulate using comparative regulation.

104. The functions of the OFT and the Competition Commission are to be transferred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in April 2014. The CMA is required to set up CMA Panels to carry out inquiries currently handled by the Competition Commission.

105. New section 33A of the WIA states that the CMA may decide not to make a merger reference if:

· in the case of an anticipated merger, the merger arrangements are not sufficiently advanced or are unlikely to proceed (for example if negotiations have stalled);

· the merger (anticipated or otherwise) is not likely to prejudice Ofwat’s ability to regulate (for example if one of the undertakers is not subject to comparative regulation or if it is not a suitable comparator); or

· although the merger (anticipated or otherwise) is likely to prejudice that ability, the benefits to customers by allowing the merger outweigh the loss of a comparator (for example if the merger produces lower prices or higher quality services for the customer etc.).

106. The CMA must ask Ofwat for, and Ofwat must give, an opinion on the impact of the merger on Ofwat’s ability to regulate and how that weighs up against potential customer benefits. In making this assessment, Ofwat must apply the methods set out in the statement of methods required under new section 33C. The Government’s intention is that the statement should give acquiring undertakers and the CMA some certainty about whether a proposed merger (taking into account any undertakings proposed under new section 33D – see below) would prejudice Ofwat’s ability to regulate and the likely impact of that prejudice. The CMA must consider Ofwat’s opinion before coming to a decision.

107. New section 33D enables the CMA, having consulted Ofwat, to accept undertakings from parties to the merger for the purposes of remedying or mitigating the prejudicial impact of losing a comparator instead of making a merger reference. In carrying out these functions, the CMA must have regard to the need to achieve a comprehensive solution as possible to compensate for the prejudice resulting from the potential loss of a comparator. Undertakings may for example include continuing with separate price limits, divestment of some or part of the business of the undertaker etc. The CMA may subsequently allow an undertaking to be varied, replaced or released if necessary at a later date should circumstances change etc, and must consider any representations made in relation to a change to an undertaking as soon as reasonably practicable. The CMA must not make a merger reference if it is considering whether to accept undertakings from the acquiring undertaker.

Clause 15: Exclusion of small mergers: advice of CMA on threshold

108. This clause introduces a new duty on the CMA to keep under review, and advise the Secretary of State on, the turnover threshold at which, and conditions on which, any anticipated or actual mergers between undertakers become subject to the special merger regime.

109. The current threshold is set at £10 million and this is applied where the turnover of one or both undertakers is £10 million or more. The Government’s intention is that the advice of the CMA will assist the Secretary of State in deciding whether to change the threshold and conditions using existing powers under section 33(7) of the WIA.

Relevant undertakers’ charges

Clause 16: Charges schemes

110. The clause substitutes subsections (6) and (6A) for subsections (6) to (9) of section 143 of the WIA. This removes the requirement that undertakers’ charges schemes do not take effect until approved by Ofwat. However, undertakers will be required to make their charges schemes in accordance with rules which Ofwat may produce.

111. Subsection (2) inserts new section 143B into the WIA which describes the rules and sets out the process by which the rules are to be produced. There are several requirements that charges schemes must comply with in legislation, in principles produced by Ofwat, and in appointment conditions. The new inserted section gives Ofwat a power to issue (and subsequently revise) charging rules that undertakers’ charges schemes must also comply with. It also gives Ofwat a power of direction, enforceable under section 18 for when Ofwat thinks a company is not acting in accordance with the rules. The direction might, for example, direct that schemes be replaced the following charging year or, if absolutely necessary, in year, or to take such other action as is appropriate – for example for the undertaker to conduct better research into its customer base.

112. New section 143B(7) reproduces in the rules the effect of the provision in section 143 that Ofwat cannot exercise this power for the purpose of limiting the total revenues of relevant undertakers from charges fixed by, or in accordance, with charges schemes.

113. New section 143C requires Ofwat to consult relevant persons on its rules in draft. In the making the rules, Ofwat must have regard to guidance which the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers must produce on the content of Ofwat’s rules (see below and also clause 36 which provides for further guidance on charging rules). Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers may direct Ofwat not to issue the rules or to amend them as per a direction where the rules affect undertakers within their respective jurisdictions. The rules may not be published before these 28 days have elapsed.

114. New sections 143D requires the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers to produce charging guidance to Ofwat on undertakers’ charges for their respective jurisdictions. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers are required to consult each other and relevant persons on their respective guidance.

Clause 17: Rules about charges for connections etc

115. This clause inserts new section 144ZA into the WIA permitting Ofwat to publish rules about charges which may be levied by water undertakers and sewerage undertakers for connections to, and the provision of, water mains, public sewers and some associated infrastructure,. These rules replace certain existing provisions in the WIA relating to various financial requirements that may be imposed by a water undertaker in return for that undertaker carrying out its duties or obligations under the sections amended by clauses 18 and 19 of the bill. The rules may include charges that may be imposed, and methods for their calculation, as well as provision as to security that may be required. The clause gives Ofwat a power of direction, enforceable under section 18 if Ofwat thinks a company is not acting in accordance with the rules.

116. New section 144ZB requires Ofwat to consult relevant persons on its rules. Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers may direct Ofwat not to issue the rules or to amend them as per a direction where the rules relate to main connections between undertakers within their respective jurisdictions. The rules may not be published before these 28 days have elapsed.

117. New section 144ZC requires the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers to produce charging guidance to Ofwat on undertakers’ charges for their respective jurisdictions. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers are required to consult each other and relevant persons on their respective guidance.

Clause 18: Charges for providing a water main etc

118. This clause makes several amendments to the WIA to allow for charging rules under new section 143B (inserted by clause 16) to be the basis on which charges for new connections to an undertaker’s water supply system are made. The clause repeals provisions as to security for payments to be made, so that these too can be set in accordance with charging rules. The clause also makes consequential amendments to Ofwat’s powers to make determinations under section 30A in respect of charges and security.

119. Subsections (2) to (5) make changes to various provisions that allow a water undertaker to impose charges and require security in respect of section 41 (duty to provide a water main), section 45 (duty to make domestic connections to a water main), and section 46 (duties to carry out ancillary works). Schedule 7 paragraph 52 to the Bill repeals sections 43 and 43A which contain methods for calculating aspects of the charges.

Clause 19: Charges for providing a public sewer etc

120. This clause makes several amendments to the WIA to allow for charging rules under new section 143B (inserted by clause 16) to be the basis on which charges for new connections to an undertaker’s sewerage system are made. The clause repeals provisions as to security for payments to be made, so that these too can be set in accordance with charging rules. The clause also makes consequential amendments to Ofwat’s powers to make determinations under section 30A in respect of charges and security.

121. Subsection (2) makes changes to section 99 in respect of provisions that allow a sewerage undertaker to impose charges and require security in respect of section 98 (duty to provide a sewer or lateral drain) and makes similar provision in section 101B (power to construct lateral drains). Schedule 7 paragraph 80 to the Bill repeals sections 100 and 100A which contain methods for calculating aspects of the charges.

122. Subsection (4) and (5) amend section 107 of the WIA. Under existing section 107(3)(b) an undertaker need not make the connection until the person requesting that connection has paid or given security for a reasonable estimate of costs. The amendments require that this cost is calculated in accordance with the charging rules. Any difference between this initial payment and the final charge allowable under the charging rules must be paid or repaid as appropriate.

Clause 20: Charges for moving pipes

123. This clause amends section 185 of the WIA which imposes a duty on a relevant undertaker to move pipes etc in certain cases. Subsection (5) currently enables the undertaker to recover expenses reasonably incurred in carrying out the works from the person who required the work to be done. The clause amends subsection (5) so that instead the person who required the work to be done must pay the undertaker any charges the undertaker imposes in accordance with charging rules under section 144ZA.

Sustainable drainage

Clause 21: Drainage systems relieving public sewers

124. This clause introduces a new section 114A of the WIA to give sewerage undertakers the power to construct, maintain and operate drainage systems for the purpose of reducing the volume of surface water entering public sewers or the rate at which it does. The clause also excludes drainage systems constructed under the section from the adoption duty imposed by Schedule 3 to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

CHAPTER 3

REGULATION OF THE WATER INDUSTRY

General duties of the Water Services Regulation Authority

Clause 22: Primary duty to secure resilience

125. This clause amends section 2 of the WIA which sets out ‘general duties with respect to the water industry’. These duties apply both to the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers and to Ofwat in the exercise of their relevant regulatory responsibilities. This clause introduces a new duty, which is to further the resilience objective.

126. Subsection (2DA)(a) explains that the resilience objective is to secure the long-term resilience of water supply and sewerage systems in against environmental pressures, population growth and changes in consumer behaviour.

127. Subsection (2DA)(b) explains that the resilience objective is to secure that undertakers take action now and in future to obtain the long-term resilience of water and sewerage services to consumers.

128. The clause clarifies that the action taken to secure resilience may include, amongst other things, promoting long-term planning and appropriate investment; and the full range of appropriate measures to manage water resources and to secure effectual drainage. For example, relevant activities to reduce consumer demand and to ensure the effective management of water resources both within the network and in the wider water environment.

129. Subsection (2DB)(a) defines supply systems in accordance with the new sections 17B while subsection (2DB)(b) defines sewerage systems.

Clause 23: General duty as regards undue preference in the provision of services

130. This clause inserts new subsection (ba) to section 2(3) of the WIA which imposes a general duty on the Secretary of State, Welsh Ministers and Ofwat to carry out their functions with a view to securing that undertakers do not show any undue preference or undue discrimination in favour of their own retail businesses, associated licensees or other undertakers in the provision of services for licensees, inset appointees or other undertakers.

131. Undue preference might be demonstrated by an undertaker, for example, where it prioritises enquiries from its own end-user customers or from its subsidiary licensee over those from another licensees or undertakers. Undue discrimination might involve an undertaker placing different information requirements on unassociated licensees or other undertakers that it would not normally require from its own retail business or subsidiary licensee. This would in effect give the undertaker’s own business interests a competitive advantage over others that are operating in the same market.

Clause 24: Strategic priorities and objectives

132. This clause replaces the current section 2A of the WIA with a new power enabling the Secretary of State to publish a statement setting out strategic priorities and objectives for Ofwat in relation to appointment areas wholly or mainly in England. Currently, section 2A provides the power under which the Social and Environmental Guidance (SEG) to Ofwat is issued; Ofwat must have regard to this guidance. The new section 2A establishes that Ofwat must carry out its relevant functions in accordance with the statement published by the Secretary of State.

133. The clause creates a new power allowing for the production of a single consolidated statement of the Government’s priorities for Ofwat. This will allow for future iterations of the current Strategic Policy Statement incorporating the SEG to be produced under a single power.

134. Subsection (3) requires the Secretary of State when producing the statement to have regard to Ofwat’s duties under section 2 of the WIA. These include, for example, duties to:

· protect consumers;

· have regard to the interests of vulnerable groups;

· ensure that the functions of water and sewerage companies are performed properly and that the companies are able to finance those functions;

· further the resilience objective;

· contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.

135. The clause also specifies that the Secretary of State may have regard to social and environmental matters. This power will allow the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers to set out strategic priorities and objectives for Ofwat on the matters previously covered by the Social and Environmental Guidance.

136. Subsections (4) – (8) set out requirements for consultation and parliamentary scrutiny of the statement.

137. The new section 2B sets out similar powers for the Welsh Ministers to publish a statement setting out strategic priorities and objectives for Ofwat in relation to appointment areas wholly or mainly in Wales.

138. The clause provides for an amendment to section 192A of the WIA such that Ofwat will need to include in their forward work programme an explanation of how projects included in it reflect priorities and objectives published under section 2A or 2B.

Regulation of relevant undertakers, water supply licensees and sewerage licensees

Clause 25: Procedure for granting water supply and sewerage licences

139. This clause replaces section 17F with new provisions about procedure for Ofwat to grant water supply and sewerage licences. Currently the procedure for the issue of water supply licences is set out in regulations by the Secretary of State. Under the new provisions Ofwat will determine the procedure, including any fees payable, and publish it.

140. This clause also revokes a requirement on applicants that wish to apply for a licence to publish a notice of their application.

Clause 26: Extension of time limit for imposing financial penalties

141. This clause amends section 22C of the WIA by increasing the limitation from twelve months to five years for the Secretary of State, the Welsh Ministers or Ofwat to impose a civil financial penalty on an undertaker or licensee for an historic breach of an appointment or licence condition or a relevant statutory obligation. It remains the case that the time limit for imposing a penalty does not apply if a formal notice has been served on the person on whom the penalty is to be imposed, before the end of the limitation period. The provision ensures that the extended time limit does not apply to a contravention occurring prior to the clause coming into force.

Clause 27: Water resources management plans for England: resilience

142. This clause adds a new section 37A(A) to the WIA which provides that the Secretary of State may give directions to water undertakers about the basis on which a water resources management plan is to be prepared. The direction can only be given with a view to securing the ability of the water undertaker to meet the need for the supply of water to consumers. The direction can require that a plan be prepared on the basis of certain assumptions around resilience and security of supplies in drought and may be related to the risk of certain weather events arising, the frequency of customer restrictions or other bases for describing resilience, such as water security margins. The provision applies to the Secretary of State in respect of water undertakers whose area is wholly or mainly in England.

Clause 28: Frequency of water resources management and drought plans

143. This clause amends sections 39B of the WIA to change the frequency of drought plans to a maximum five yearly cycle in keeping with water resources management plans. Where there is a duty to prepare a revised plan within the five year time limit, this means the revised plan must be prepared and published within the five years (in accordance with the procedure in section 37B of the WIA).

144. The clause insert news subsections (4) to (9) in section 37D to empower the Secretary of State in respect of undertakers wholly or mainly in England, or the Welsh Ministers in respect of undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales, to amend the planning timeframes for water resources management plans. This can only be done by order using the negative resolution procedure. The Secretary of State’s and the Welsh Ministers’ powers here can be exercised in the same statutory instrument. New section 39D makes the same arrangements for drought plans.

Clause 29: Standards of performance: water supply

145. This clause inserts new sections 38ZA and 39ZA into the WIA giving the Secretary of State powers to set standards of performance relating to water supply services provided by water supply licensees (currently the powers in section 38 of the WIA only apply to services provided by water undertakers). Standards of performance, which are prescribed in secondary legislation, are the minimum levels of service in terms of quality and timeliness that water suppliers must provide to their customers in the normal course of business or when things go wrong. The secondary legislation may also include provision as to the level of payment that customers must receive if the prescribed standards of performance are not met. The clause also amends section 38A of the WIA (information as to levels of performance which must be supplied to Ofwat) to extend that section to water supply licensees.

Clause 30: Standards of performance: sewerage

146. This clause makes the same provision in relation to sewerage services provided by sewerage licensees as is made by clause 29 in relation to water supply services provided by water supply licensees by inserting new sections 95ZA and 96ZA and amending section 95A.

Clause 31: Notice of agreements within section 142(2)(b)

147. This clause adds new subsections (6A) and (6B) to section 142 of the Water Industry Act 1991. An undertaker will be required to notify Ofwat when it makes an individual charging agreement with a customer that is not covered by a charging scheme. Such agreements tend to be made between undertakers and large users of water but could also be made for any arrangements not covered by undertakers’ charges schemes. This reporting requirement will be enforceable by Ofwat under its section 18 powers. The clause also amends section 195 of the WIA to require such notified information to be included on Ofwat’s register, for public inspection, subject to any direction given by the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers in relation to, for example, commercially sensitive information.

Clause 32: Register relating to undertakers and licensees

148. This clause amends section 195 of the WIA to require Ofwat to enter information into its register of regulatory actions. Ofwat is required to publish notices of any agreements to reduce wholesale charges in relation to bulk supplies, main connections arrangements and water supply and sewerage licensing agreements.

Clause 33: Operation of register

149. This clause replaces section 195(4) to (6) of the WIA with new subsections (4) to (4B) which remove the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers power to issue an order outlining the times at which Ofwat’s register of regulatory actions must be made available for inspection and the fees that are payable to Ofwat for any copies of the papers contained in the register. Ofwat must instead publish a notice outlining this information.

Clause 34: Obtaining information for enforcement purposes

150. This clause amends section 203 of the WIA to extend current powers to demand information. Under the current section 203 the appropriate Minister and Ofwat can demand information from any person about potential contraventions by water and sewerage undertakers of their or others’ appointment and licence conditions or other statutory requirements enforceable under section 18 of WIA.

151. This clause extends the subjects on which information can be demanded by Ofwat and the Minister, to situations where an undertaker is causing or contributing to a contravention by another undertaker, or where a licensee is causing or contributing to a contravention by another licensee of appointment or licence conditions or other statutory requirements enforceable under section 18 of WIA. Information can also be demanded about both undertakers’ and licensees’ compliance in individual cases with the prescribed standards of performance relating to water supply and sewerage services.

Appeals relating to codes

Clause 35: Appeals relating to revision of codes

152. This clause inserts new sections 207A to 207D into the WIA giving the Secretary of State the power to make regulations providing for appeals to the CMA against Ofwat decisions to revise Codes (e.g. those under new sections 40B, 110C, etc) or parts of Codes designated in the Regulations.

153. The regulations must set out the approach the CMA will take in deciding whether to take forward and determine an appeal, the grounds on which an appeal may be made and the procedures the CMA must follow when conducting an appeal. Further procedural provisions that may be included in the regulations are in a new Schedule 16 to the WIA (see Schedule 6 below).

Guidance relating to rules about charges

Clause 36: Guidance relating to rules about charges

154. This clause inserts new sections 144ZD and 144ZE to the WIA which allows the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers to issue and revise high level guidance in relation to Ofwat’s charging rules made under the Bill. The guidance must be appropriately consulted on and laid before Parliament or, if appropriate, the Assembly. This gives Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales the ability to scrutinise the relevant governments’ approach to charging guidance to Ofwat and to resolve, within a 40 day period, that the guidance should not be issued.

Adjudication functions

Clause 37: Exercise of adjudication functions by other persons

155. This clause creates a new power for the Secretary of State in relation to Ofwat’s adjudication functions. Currently, the WIA identifies a number of matters upon which Ofwat has a statutory duty to make a formal determination in cases of dispute between customers and the water and sewerage companies. This covers end-user customers, parties seeking connections to a sewer or a water main, parties applying for or seeking to vary a consent to discharge trade effluent; and parties with a complaint about the exercise of works powers on private land.

156. This clause allows the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers to make an order allowing any of the relevant functions to be performed by a specified party other than Ofwat; or by either Ofwat or another party at Ofwat’s discretion. The relevant functions are set out at subsection (4) which clarifies that this power covers specified functions and does not extend to Ofwat’s enforcement powers under section 18 of the WIA.

157. This clause will enable the introduction of greater flexibility into the system for dispute resolution in order to enable routine disputes to be resolved in a timely manner and to allow for the development of expertise in relation to specific classes of dispute. Ofwat will continue to be responsible for setting the regulatory framework within which the adjudication functions are performed. Subsection (2) provides that the order can require Ofwat to produce guidance as to how an adjudicator must exercise the relevant function. It also provides that the person exercising the function can be required to take account of any guidance to which Ofwat is itself subject.

Drinking water inspectorate

Clause 38: Charging of fees by assessors for the enforcement of water quality

158. Subsection 1 of this clause inserts a new section 86A in the Water Industry Act 1991 which allows the Secretary of State to confer power on the Chief Inspector of Drinking Water to charge fees for the costs of the regulatory activities undertaken by the Drinking Water Inspectorate from water companies. It replaces a similar power conferred by section 4 of the Public Bodies Act 2011 which was time limited. Similarly, there are equivalent powers for the Welsh Ministers to make such orders.

159. Subsection (2) of the clause repeals the relevant provisions of the Public Bodies Act 2011.

CHAPTER 4

Clause 39 : Modification of appointment and licence conditions

160. This clause provides the Authority with a time limited power to make changes to undertakers’ conditions of appointment and water supply and sewerage licence conditions in order to implement changes made in this Bill to the water supply and sewerage licensing regime. Before making changes Ofwat must consult the holder of the appointment or licence, the Secretary of State, Welsh Ministers and other appropriate persons.

161. Subsections (8) to (12) provide the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers with the power to give directions to the Authority in order to ensure that both appointment conditions and licence conditions are modified in order to implement the changes in the Bill. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers may also direct Ofwat not to make proposed changes to conditions or licences.

Clause 40 : Further amendments

This clause introduces Schedule 7 to this Bill and makes further amendments to the WIA.

PART 2

WATER RESOURCES

Clause 41 : Withdrawal of compensation for water undertakers

162. This clause modifies section 61 of the WRA 1991 (compensation where licence modified on direction of the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers) to remove the right of compensation for water and sewage undertakers when abstraction or impoundment licences are revoked or varied by either the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers under section 54 (following Environment Agency or Natural Resources Body for Wales proposals) or s ection 56 (following an application by an owner of fishing rights).

Clause 42 : Main rivers in England and Wales

163. This clause amends provisions for the determination and maintenance of main river maps, replacing sections 193 and 194 of the Water Resources Act 1991 with sections 193, 193A, 193B, 193C, 193D and 193E for England and sections 194, 194A, 194B, 194C, 194D and 193E for Wales. Main rivers are designated by being marked as such on a main river map. Flood risk management functions are determined in relation to the type of watercourse; the Environment Agency in England and the Natural Resources Body for Wales in Wales are responsible for carrying out functions on a main river, Internal Drainage Boards are responsible for all other watercourses within internal drainage districts and Lead Local Flood Authorities for those outside of a drainage district.

164. New section 193 transfers responsibility for maintaining the main river map for England from the Secretary of State to the Environment Agency, and requires that the map shall be kept in electronic form.

165. Section 193A requires the Environment Agency to make copies of the map available to the public. The current requirement for the Environment Agency to supply copies of the relevant maps is extended to all risk management authorities (as defined by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010) and navigation authorities. Subsection (4) sets out the part of the map that must be provided in each case.

166. The Environment Agency will be able to charge a fee for others who wish to receive copies of the map/data; those who wish to reuse the data on a commercial basis may be charged a reasonable use fee. All others may be charged a fee to cover reasonable costs.

167. New section 193B empowers the Environment Agency to amend the main river map. In most cases, the Environment Agency must first make a determination under section 193C, and follow the procedure set out in that section. The Environment Agency must amend the main river map if a scheme imposing special charges for drainage works in order to improve agricultural land is introduced under section 137 of the Water Resources Act 1991, if the Environment Agency makes a determination under section 193C or if so directed by the Secretary of State as the result of an appeal under new section 193D.

168. New section 193C specifies the circumstances in which the Environment Agency may determine that a watercourse is to be, or is no longer to be, a main river or part of a main river. Before making a determination the Environment Agency must consult with interested parties on any change being proposed, and publish the results of its decision following such a consultation. When consulting the Agency is required to publish a notice about the proposed amendments, and set out how objections might be made, including time limits and any necessary restrictions on the form in which objections may be made. The Agency will be able to publicise its notice as it considers most appropriate to provide the best opportunity for those in the relevant area to be aware of any changes, whether this be on the Agency’s website and or in newspapers which circulate in the locality affected.

169. New section 193D sets out an appeals process. Appeals must be made within 6 weeks of any decision being made by the Agency. The Secretary of State will be able to allow, allow in part or reject the appeal, and to direct the Agency to publish the decision.

170. New section 193E empowers the Secretary of State to issue guidance to the Environment Agency. Such guidance may include criteria on when it is appropriate for a watercourse to become a main river and guidelines on when boundaries need to be reviewed, and may set out the criteria or other guidance that ought to be followed when proposing to vary a main river map as well as when to consult.

171. New Sections 194 – 194E replicate for the Natural Resources Body for Wales in Wales and Welsh Ministers the provisions of new Sections 193 – 193E for the Environment Agency and the Secretary of State in England.

Clause 43 : Maps of waterworks

172. This clause repeals section 195 of the Water Resources Act 1991, removing the duty on the Environment Agency and the Natural Resources Body for Wales to keep and maintain a record of the resource mains, discharge pipes and other underground works that it owns. Subsection (2) makes a consequential amendment to Schedule 23 to the Water Resources Act 1991 to allow for the facts that the records of aspects of the Environment Agency’s "undertaking" will no longer be recorded in maps kept by the Environment Agency.

PART 3

ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION

Clause 44 : Regulation of the water environment

173. This clause enables the Secretary of State (in relation to England and in relation to such parts of the River Esk as are situated in Scotland) and the Welsh Ministers (in relation to Wales) to make regulations about water abstraction and impounding licences, flood defence consents and requirements for fish passes and screens. The regulation making power is modelled upon the power in the single environmental permitting regime created under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 (the PPC Act). Regulations under this clause may be combined with regulations made under that regime to create a common system of environmental regulation.

174. Under the PPC Act, Ministers have powers to regulate polluting activities under a single regime. However, they do not have a power to place abstraction and impoundment licensing, flood defence consents or fish passage within that regime, as these do not relate to pollution as defined.

175. Integrating the permitting and regulatory regimes for abstraction, impounding, flood defence and fish passage will allow regulators to use one common process and compliance framework. The framework allows different levels of control to be applied to a particular activity, according to risk: bespoke permits; standard permits; exemptions from the requirement to hold a permit if specified conditions are satisfied.

176. Subsection (1) empowers the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers to make regulations for the purposes set out in Part 1 of Schedule 8. Under subsection (2), any provision made by such regulations must be made for or in connection with regulating: the use of water resources; securing the drainage of land or the management of flood risk; or safeguarding the movement of freshwater and migratory fish through regulated waters. Under subsection (3), Ministers must have regard to reducing burdens by combining regulations made under this clause with systems for regulating activities causing pollution. Subsection (4) is a power to make consequential amendments to legislation, including primary legislation. Subsection (5) requires consultation before any regulations are made. Under subsection (11), regulations in relation to the passage of fish may apply to so much of the Border Esk River with it banks and tributary streams up to their source as situated in Scotland, and will not apply in the lower reaches of the River Tweed in England on the assumption that they will be regulated under law made by the Scottish Ministers. Historically, English legislation on salmon and freshwater fisheries has applied to the Scottish as well as the English River Esk and its tributaries. Conversely, Scottish legislation has applied to the English as well as the Scottish Tweed.

Clause 45 : Environmental regulation: procedure

177. This clause sets out the parliamentary process to be followed by the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers when making regulations under clause 44. Subsection (4) ensures that the first sets of regulations made by the Secretary of State and by the Welsh Ministers will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. Any subsequent regulations which create an offence or increase a penalty for an existing offence or which amend or repeal any provision of primary legislation, will also be subject to the affirmative procedure. Other than in these circumstances, regulations will be subject to the negative resolution procedure unless subsections (5) and (6) are relevant because the statutory instrument being made contains regulations made under both clause 44 of this Bill and section 2 of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999.

178. Subsections (5) and (6) make provision about the procedure that will apply if regulations made under clause 45 are combined with regulations made under section 2 of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999. Subsection (13) inserts a provision in the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 referring to clause 45 of this Bill to ensure that this requirement is referenced in that Act.

179. Subsections (9) to (12) set out the relevant procedures for statutory instruments which combine regulations made by the Secretary of State under clause 46 with regulations made by the Welsh Ministers under that clause.

Clause 46 : Repeal of certain provisions about culverts

180. This clause repeals sections 262 and 263 of the Public Health Act 1936.

181. Section 262 of the Public Health Act 1936 gives local authorities power to require the culverting of watercourses and ditches where building operations are proposed. Section 262 was introduced to allow watercourses to be covered so that they did not cause health problems. The approach now is to address the pollution and not cover up the watercourse. In addition the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Body for Wales discourage culverting as it is not consistent with good surface run-off.

182. Under section 263 watercourses in urban districts may not be culverted except in accordance with plans approved by the local authority.

183. Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act 1991 and section 109 of the Water Resources Act 1991 require that owners/occupiers who wish to erect or alter any mill dam, weir or other like obstruction to a watercourse, or erect or alter any culvert must seek the prior consent from either the Lead Local Flood Authority, the relevant Internal Drainage Board, the Environment Agency or the Natural Resources Body for Wales depending on the location of the proposed works. In combination with section 263 of the Public Health Act 1936 these provisions require that owner/occupiers apply for parallel consents from a number of bodies. Section 263 of the Public Health Act 1936 is being repealed in order to remove the requirement for parallel consents.

PART 4

FLOOD INSURANCE

Clause 47 : Flood Insurance

184. Following extensive discussions that have taken place between the Association of British Insurers and Government, the Government is intending to carry out further formal consultation with a range of interested parties about the Government’s proposed approach on flood insurance.

185. Clause 47 is designed as a placeholder to allow the Secretary of State to bring forward substantive provisions by amendment in the light of this further work; those substantive provisions would replace clause 47 in its current form. Those provisions will make arrangements regarding insurance cover for domestic properties at high risk of flooding.

PART 5

MISCELLANEOUS

Clause 48 : Internal drainage boards: procedure for orders confirming reorganisation

186. Schedule 3 to the Land Drainage Act 1991 sets out the procedure to be followed when making certain orders, including those for the reorganisation of Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs). IDBs are locally funded semi-independent statutory bodies responsible for water level management in areas of special drainage need. Clause 48 amends Schedule 3 in respect of orders for the reorganisation of IDBs by inserting new sub-paragraphs 4(1A) and 5(3A).

187. New sub-paragraph 4(1A) removes the requirement for the Minister to publish a notice after an order has been made under section 3 for schemes in England and thereby removes the 30 day advertising period in which a person affected by the order may present a memorial praying that the order should be subject to special parliamentary procedure.

188. New sub-paragraph 5(3A) provides that an order made under section 3 for schemes in England will no longer be subject to special parliamentary procedure.

Clause 49 : Internal drainage boards in England: alternative procedure for byelaws

189. Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) have powers under section 66 of the Land Drainage Act 1991 to make byelaws for land drainage and flood risk management purposes. IDBs must follow the process in Schedule 5 to that Act when making such byelaws.

190. Clause 49 inserts a new section 66A into the Land Drainage Act 1991 to enable the Secretary of State to make regulations establishing a new procedure for IDBs wholly in England to follow when making byelaws. The intention is to make regulations to bring the process IDBs follow broadly into line with that followed by local authorities.

191. In prescribing the alternative procedures to be followed, the section empowers the Secretary of State to include in regulations provision on the consultation procedures which IDBs should follow before making a byelaw, and for advertising the new byelaw locally once it has been made.

Clause 50 : Publication requirements under the Land Drainage Act 1991

192. Clause 50 introduces Schedule 9 which amends the Land Drainage Act 1991 to remove restrictions on the way in which internal drainage boards documents have to be published.

PART 6

GENERAL AND FINAL

Clause s 52 to 57 : General and final provisions

193. Clauses 52 to 57 make general provision for the Act.

194. Clause 52 gives the Secretary of State a power to make amendments consequential on the Bill. This includes a power to make transitional, transitory or saving provision and a power to repeal and amend legislation, including primary legislation. Where primary legislation is repealed or amended, the affirmative resolution procedure must be followed. Clause 53 gives the Secretary of State a power to make transitional, transitory or saving provisions by order in relation to the coming into force of any provision within the Act.

195. Clause 56 makes provision about commencement. Clauses 52 to 57 come into force on the day on which the Act is passed. Clauses 3, 22, 31, 41 and parts of Schedule 7 come into force two months after the Act is passed. Otherwise, the Act is to be brought into force by order made by the Secretary of State, except that clause 5 is to be brought into force by order made by the Welsh Ministers and clause 7 is to be brought into force by order made by the Scottish Ministers.

SCHEDULES

Schedule 1: Water supply licences: authorisations

196. This Schedule inserts a new Schedule 2A into the WIA which outlines the new authorisations under the water supply licence.

197. Paragraphs 4 and 7 effectively stipulate that water supply licensees cannot supply household premises. Households are defined for this purpose in section 17C of the WIA as premises in which, or in any part of which, a person has his home and where the main use of the premises is as a home. Paragraph 7 also requires that non-household premises must meet or exceed a water usage threshold test to be eligible to change water supplier from the local undertaker to the holder of a restricted retail authorisation. The current water usage threshold applying to premises in the areas of undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales is 50 million litres of water a year. Paragraph 9 allows Ofwat to enforce these requirements using its section 18 powers and under paragraph 10 it is able to issue guidance on defining eligible premises.

198. Paragraph 3 defines a retail authorisation in a water supply licence as allowing the licensee to use the supply system of a water undertaker whose area is wholly or mainly in England to provide water supply services to non-household premises. These include its own non-household premises, those of an associate of the licensee and eligible premises of its own customers.

199. Paragraph 5 defines a wholesale authorisation in a water supply licence as allowing the licensee to introduce water into the supply system of a water undertaker wholly or mainly in England in connection with its own or another licensee’s retail authorisation.

200. Paragraph 6 defines a restricted retail authorisation in a water supply licence as allowing the licensee to use the supply system of a water undertaker wholly or mainly in Wales to provide services to its customer’s non-household premises that meet the threshold requirement under section 17D. The current threshold is 50 megalitres of water per annum.

201. Paragraph 8 defines a supplementary authorisation in a water supply licence as allowing the licensee to introduce water into the supply system of a water undertaker wholly or mainly in Wales in connection with a restricted retail authorisation.

202. Paragraphs 11 and 12 define when a person is associated with a licensee.

Schedule 2: Water undertakers’ duties as regards water supply licensees

203. This Schedule introduces amendments to the WIA to widen the duties of water undertakers to take into account new authorisations permitted under the water supply licence.

204. Paragraph 1 substitutes new sections 66A, 66AA, 66B and 66C for existing sections 66A, 66B, and 66C of the WIA. New sections 66A to 66C set out the duties imposed on a water undertaker when a water supply licensee requests access to its system under the new expanded water supply arrangements.

205. New section 66A of the WIA applies when a water supply licensee with a retail authorisation or restricted retail authorisation requests a water undertaker to permit the licensee to use its system to provide retail services to eligible premises in a water undertaker’s area (including billing, reading meters, customer services etc.) using the undertaker’s supply system. The water undertaker is under a duty in accordance with a section 66D agreement (see below) to take such steps as necessary to connect premises when asked to do so by the licensee and to enable the agreement to take effect.

206. The water undertaker can also refuse to allow use of its supply system by the holder of a retail or restricted retail authorisation where: the licensee has failed to secure a water supply or the water fittings in question are not compliant with any regulations produced under section 74 of the WIA.

207. New section 66AA also allows a water supply licensee with a retail authorisation or a restricted retail authorisation to request a supply of water from the water undertaker to serve eligible premises under the terms of the relevant authorisation. The supply of water must be made in accordance with a section 66D agreement (see below). The water undertaker must take the necessary steps required to enable that supply to be made unless the request: does not involve a supply to premises that consist of a whole or any part of the building or is not for the supply of water for domestic purposes (that is if the water is not for drinking, washing, cooking, central heating and sanitary purposes: see section 218 of the WIA); and where it involves unreasonable costs or puts the undertaker at risk of not meeting current and future obligations. The grounds for refusal in sections 66A and 66AA reflect the provisions in section 55 of the WIA (supplies for non-domestic purposes).

208. New section 66B applies when a water supply licensee with a wholesale authorisation or supplementary authorisation requests a water undertaker to permit the licensee to introduce water into the undertaker’s supply system for the purpose of supplying premises in the undertaker’s area under an appropriate retail or restricted retail authorisation. The introduction must be made in accordance with a section 66D agreement (see below). The water undertaker is under a duty to take appropriate steps in accordance with the section 66D agreement (for example laying a main or pipes, which are to be regarded as water mains) to connect the undertaker’s supply system or treatment works. The water undertaker does not have to permit the introduction of water if it will impact on its ability to meet current or future supply obligations or the undertaker would incur unreasonable costs in carrying out the work.

209. New section 66C allows a water supply licensee to request a supply from a neighbouring water undertaker to serve eligible premises under a retail authorisation or restricted retail authorisation. The neighbouring undertaker (the secondary undertaker) is subject to a duty to enable that supply to be made unless it would incur unreasonable costs or if it impacts on its own supply obligations. The eligible premises which may be supplied under a retail authorisation is limited where the water comes from an secondary undertaker wholly or mainly in Wales. The water undertaker which is appointed to the area where the premises are located (the primary undertaker) is also able to refuse to enable that supply on the same grounds as the secondary undertaker. The duties must be performed in accordance with a section 66D agreement (see below).

210. Paragraph 2 inserts a new section 66CA in the WIA. Water supply licensees are able to refer for determination questions as to whether in any particular case the grounds are met for an undertaker to refuse to carry out its connection or supply duties. Before making a determination relating to certain provisions Ofwat must first, as appropriate, consult the Secretary of State and/or the Welsh Ministers and the Environment Agency and/or the Natural Resources Body for Wales.

211. Paragraph 3 substitutes a new section 66D in the WIA. If undertakers and licensees cannot agree arrangements between them under sections 66A to 66C any of the parties may apply to Ofwat for the regulator to determine the terms of an agreement by order, vary the terms of an existing agreement, or terminate an agreement. The order has effect as an agreement between the parties or, as the case may be, the existing agreement has effect subject to the provision made by the order (or is terminated by it). Orders deemed to be agreements and agreements varied by order, as well as actual agreements under the duties at new sections 66A to 66C, are referred as "section 66D agreements". Certain enforcement provisions of the Competition Act 1998 are disapplied for these agreements for some purposes.

212. Paragraph 4 inserts new sections 66DA to 66DC on codes into the WIA.

213. New section 66DA gives Ofwat a power to issue one or more codes relating to section 66D agreements in specific cases or more generally. These codes may set out standard or particular terms and conditions between water undertakers and water supply licensees, and the procedures and steps to be taken to reach, amend or terminate an agreement. A code may also set out the procedures that Ofwat must follow in relation to the arrangements where parties are unable to come to agreement. Ofwat may direct parties to section 66D agreements to comply with the code. The direction is enforceable under section 18 of the WIA (orders for securing compliance with certain provisions).

214. New section 66DB outlines the procedures that Ofwat must follow when producing a code, including the bodies which it must consult. Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers may direct Ofwat not to issue the code or to amend it as per a direction. The Welsh Ministers’ powers in this regard only relate to a code if, or to the extent that, the code relates to section 66D agreements with undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers may issue a joint direction for codes relating to overlapping 66D agreements (e.g. a secondary supply code where one undertaker is wholly or mainly in Wales and the other is wholly or mainly in England). The Government’s intention is that this will allow for ministers to ensure that their water quality and environmental responsibilities are accounted for in the code. The relevant minister may only use this power of direction once and only in relation to the first edition of the code.

215. New section 66DC outlines the procedure that Ofwat must follow when it considers that revisions it intends to make to a code are minor or urgent in nature.

216. Paragraph 5 substitutes a new section 66E in the WIA. New section 66E requires Ofwat to publish and revise rules about charges which may be levied by water undertakers under section 66D agreements. These rules replace the existing "costs principle" and must include provisions that would allow a customer to continue to benefit from a reduced charge imposed by an undertaker when it switches to a licensee. Ofwat may issue a direction to the undertaker if it thinks it is not complying with the rules and can compel both parties to modify a section 66D agreement to conform with the rules. The direction is enforceable under section 18 of the WIA.

217. New section 66EA provides for Ofwat’s rules to include provisions on reductions in charges levied under 66D agreements to allow a licensee with a retail (or restricted retail) authorisation who is party to a section 66D agreement to apply for a reduced charge when the licensee or the licensee’s customers take steps to reduce pressure on the supply system of a water undertaker (for example by agreeing to take less water during high peak periods or during droughts etc.). In accepting an application for a reduced charge, Ofwat may impose conditions on the parties to a section 66D agreement, in particular to pass on the reduced charge to customers.

218. New section 66EB sets out the procedure that Ofwat must follow when issuing charging rules, including a requirement to consult relevant persons. In preparing the draft rules Ofwat must have regard to any charging guidance published by the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers (see below). Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers may direct Ofwat not to issue the rules or to amend them as per a direction where the rules relate to main connections between undertakers within their respective jurisdictions. The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers may issue a joint direction if the rules relate to any overlapping section 66D agreements (e.g. a secondary supply code where one undertaker is wholly or mainly in Wales and the other is wholly or mainly in England).

219. New section 66EC permits the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers to produce charging guidance to Ofwat on undertakers’ charges for their respective jurisdictions and joint guidance for overlapping section 66D agreements e.g. secondary supply agreement, as above). The Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers are required to consult each other and relevant persons on their respective guidance.

220. Paragraphs 6 to 9 make consequential amendments to other provisions in the same Chapter of the WIA including those relating to the designations of strategic supplies (and hence the application of the special administration regime) and the offences which underpin the licensing regime.

Schedule 3: Sewerage licences: authorisations

221. This Schedule inserts a new Schedule 2B into the WIA which outlines the authorisations under the sewerage licence.

222. Paragraph 1 defines a retail authorisation in a sewerage licence as allowing the licensee to use the sewerage system of a sewerage undertaker for the purposes of providing retail services (e.g. billing, meter reading, customer services, etc) to non-household premises.

223. Paragraph 2 and 3 effectively stipulates that a sewerage licensee cannot serve household premises. The same meaning of household premises applies for sewerage as for water supply. Paragraph 4 permits Ofwat, with the approval of the Secretary of State, to produce guidance defining eligible premises.

224. Paragraph 5 defines a wholesale authorisation in a sewerage licence as allowing a licensee to remove matter from the system of a sewerage undertaker to treat and dispose of it on behalf of the owners of eligible premises.

225. Paragraphs 6 and 7 define a disposal authorisation in a sewerage licence as allowing a licensee to remove matter from the sewerage system of a sewerage undertaker to treat, dispose of, or otherwise use it. The Government’s intention is to create a market for alternative sources of water (for example the supply of recycled water for industrial or commercial use) and sewage sludge (for example for energy production, fertiliser manufacturing etc.). If the holder of a disposal authorisation also holds a retail authorisation it must also hold a wholesale authorisation. This is so that the holder does not serve eligible premises using the disposal authorisation.

226. Paragraphs 8 and 9 define a person that is associated with the licensee. A person would be associated if it is: a subsidiary, parent or sister company of the licensee; an individual or unincorporated association linked to the licensee; or within a partnership of which the licensee is a member.

Schedule 4: Sewerage undertakers’ duties as regards sewerage licensees

227. This Schedule inserts a new Chapter 2A of Part 4 to the WIA to introduce a new licensing regime for the provision of services using a sewerage undertaker’s sewerage system that is wholly or mainly in England.

228. New section 117A applies where a sewerage licensee with a retail authorisation requests a sewerage undertaker to permit it to use the undertaker’s sewerage system for the purpose of enabling the licensee to provide retail services to eligible premises (including billing, reading meters, customer services etc.) using the undertaker’s sewerage system. The sewerage undertaker is under a duty in accordance with a section 117E agreement (see below) to take such steps as necessary to connect premises when asked to do so by the licensee.

229. New section 117B allows a sewerage licensee with a retail authorisation to request a sewerage undertaker to dispose of a corresponding amount of matter from its own system as that entering the system from the premises served. The sewerage undertaker must take such steps as necessary to enable disposal. The sewerage undertaker’s duty to deal with the matter must be performed in accordance with a section 117E agreement (see below).

230. New section 117C allows a sewerage licensee with a wholesale authorisation to request a sewerage undertaker to permit the licensee to remove from the undertaker’s sewerage system a corresponding amount of matter as that entering the system from premises served by the licensee’s own or another licensee’s retail authorisation. The sewerage undertaker must take such steps as necessary to enable the removal (for example connecting the sewerage system to a treatment works). This duty must be performed in accordance with a section 117E agreement (see below). Subsection (4) of new section 117C states that a pipe laid for the purposes of the undertaker’s duty under this section is to be regarded as a disposal main.

231. New section 117D allows a sewerage licensee with a disposal authorisation to request a sewerage undertaker to permit the licensee to extract any agreed amount of matter from the sewerage undertaker’s system. The sewerage undertaker must take the necessary steps to enable the removal in accordance with a section 117E agreement (see below).

232. Under new section 117E, if undertakers and licensees cannot agree arrangements between them under sections 117A to 117D any of the parties may apply to Ofwat for the regulator to determine the terms of the agreement by order, vary those terms or terminate the agreement. The order has effect as an agreement between the parties or, as the case may be, the existing agreement has effect subject to the provision made by the order (or is terminated by it). Orders deemed to be agreements and agreements varied by order, as well as actual agreements under the duties at new sections duties at new sections 117A to 117D, are referred as "section 117E agreements". Certain enforcement provisions of the Competition Act 1998 are disapplied for these agreements for some purposes.

233. New section 117F gives Ofwat a power to issue one or more codes relating to section 117E agreements in specific cases or more generally. These codes may set out standard or particular terms and conditions between sewerage undertakers and sewerage licensees and the procedures and steps to be taken to reach, amend or terminate an agreement. Ofwat may direct parties to section 117E agreements to comply with the code. The direction is enforceable under section 18 of the WIA.

234. New section 117G outlines the procedures that Ofwat must follow when producing a code including the bodies which it must consult. Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State may direct Ofwat not to issue the code or to amend it as per a direction. A code may not be published until this 28 days has elapsed. This will enable the Secretary of State to ensure that his environmental responsibilities in relation to the sewerage industry are accounted for in the code. The Secretary of State must only use his power of direction once and only in relation to the first edition of the code.

235. New section 117H outlines the procedure that Ofwat must follow when it considers that revisions it intends to make to a code are minor or urgent in nature.

236. New section 117I requires Ofwat to publish rules about charges which may be levied by sewerage undertakers under section 117E agreements and allows the Secretary of State to issue guidance about the content of the rules. The rules must include provisions that would allow a customer to continue to benefit from a reduced charge imposed by an undertaker when it switches to a licensee. Ofwat may issue a direction to the undertaker if it thinks it is not complying with the rules and can compel both parties to modify a section 117G agreement to conform with the rules. The direction is enforceable under section 18 of the WIA.

237. New section 117J allows Ofwat’s rules on charges levied under section 117G agreements to include provisions that would enable licensees holding retail authorisations to apply for a reduced charge when it or its customers take, or are prepared to take, steps to reduce pressure on the sewerage undertaker’s system (for example by recycling wastewater or treating surface or storm water for reuse on site). In accepting an application for a reduced charge, Ofwat may impose conditions on the sewerage undertaker and the sewerage licensee, in particular to notify Ofwat of the reduced charge.

238. New section 117K sets out the procedure that Ofwat must follow when issuing charging rules, including a requirement to consult relevant persons. In preparing the draft rules Ofwat must have regard to any charging guidance published by the Secretary of State (see below). Ofwat must specify the consultation period in which consultees may comment. Within 28 days from the end of that consultation period the Secretary of State may direct Ofwat not to issue the rules or to amend them as per a direction where the rules relate to main connections between undertakers within their respective jurisdictions. The rules may not be published until this 28 day period has elapsed

239. New section 117L requires the Secretary of State to produce guidance on the content of Ofwat’s rules for section 117L rules. The Secretary of State must consult any person as he sees fit before publishing the guidance.

240. New section 117M and 117N provide for the designation of certain sewerage services provided by sewerage licencees as "strategic". These broadly mirror the corresponding provisions for water supply. Designation of a strategic sewerage provision (or collective sewerage provision) would occur when Ofwat determines that the removal of one or more services provided by one or more sewerage licensees would impact on the sewerage undertaker’s ability to maintain services to its own customers or meets it obligations to sewerage licensees under section 117B (for example if the sewerage undertaker was unable to treat or dispose of a source matter that had previously been dealt with by a now insolvent sewerage licensee with a wholesale authorisation). Designation of a strategic sewerage services provision would make any sewerage licensee that is responsible for that strategic sewerage provision subject to the special administration regime under sections 23 to 25 of the WIA should it become insolvent or otherwise fail to meet its statutory obligations.

241. New sections 117O to 117R create new offences around the provision of sewerage services using a sewerage undertaker’s system. Where a person is found guilty of making arrangements to provide unauthorised retail services under section 117O he would be liable to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum on summary conviction (currently £5000) and on conviction on indictment to an unlimited fine.

242. Unauthorised extraction of matter from a sewerage undertaker’s system without such authorisation under section 117P are punishable by a fine of up to £20,000 on summary conviction; and by an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment up to 2 years on indictment. Only the Secretary of State or Ofwat may instigate proceedings under this new section.

243. New section 117Q creates exemptions to the offences which may be provided for by order of the Secretary of State. This may be given generally or to specific groups or persons. The section sets out the procedure for making such an exemption including the giving of reasons and time (28 days) for representations to be made. Any notice of an exemption must be served on Ofwat and other persons likely to be affected. Notice of an exemption to a particular person is to be served on that person and other appropriate persons.

244. New section 117R provides for the revocation of an exemption by order subject to the negative procedure, or by direction. For exemptions of particular persons, this may be following a request of the person to whom the exemption was directed, in accordance with the order setting out the original exemption or by virtue of the Secretary of State’s decision that it is no longer appropriate. For general exemptions this may be in accordance with the order setting out the original exemption or by virtue of the Secretary of State’s decision that it is no longer appropriate. The Secretary of State must consult Ofwat before making the revocation and give notice to the people set out in subsection (5).

Schedule 5: Extension of licensing provisions in relation to Wales

245. This Schedule makes express provision to extend the new water and sewerage licensing provisions in the areas of water and sewerage undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales. The Schedule repeals references to "restricted retail authorisations" and "supplementary authorisations" and other provisions which restrict the application of the new licensing provisions to undertakers wholly or mainly in Wales (or England). They make consequential provisions in relation to consultation with the Welsh Ministers and the Chief Inspector of Drinking Water for Wales. The Schedule makes provision for the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers to do certain things jointly and makes consequential procedural amendments, including providing for a role for the National Assembly for Wales alongside Parliament.

Schedule 6: Procedure on appeals under section 207A of the Water Industry Act 1991

246. This Schedule inserts a new Schedule 16 into the WIA giving the Secretary of State power to provide for procedure on appeals under the new section 207A to the CMA. The schedule sets out matters that may be provided for in Regulations to include matters such as permission to appeal, consideration and determination of appeals, evidence and appeal rules.

Schedule 7: Further amendments

247. This Schedule makes minor consequential changes to the WIA mainly to give effect to the new provisions in relation to water supply licensees and sewerage licensees. It also makes minor consequential amendments to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 to give effect to clause 16 on charges schemes. Schedule 7 does not include the consequential amendments for Parts 4 to 8 of the WIA which need to be made to reflect the new licensing regime provided for in clauses 1 to 4.

248. Many of the provisions in this Schedule substitute references to "licensed water suppliers" with references to "water supply licensees" or "sewerage licensees" (or certain authorisations given to such licensees) as appropriate. Other provisions in this Schedule substitute references to "companies" with references to "persons" to give effect to the policy that the holders of retail authorisations can be unincorporated.

249. Paragraph 2, amongst other things, extends the duty on Ofwat, the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers in section 2 of the WIA to the exercise of their respective functions under relevant new sections inserted by the Bill.

250. Paragraphs 6 to 21 extend the application of the sections in Chapter 1A of Part 2 to the WIA. They make provision in relation to the new types of authorisations available to water supply licensees and in relation to sewerage licensees.

251. Paragraphs 22 to 34 amend the enforcement provisions in the WIA including extending the special administration regime to any removal of matter by a qualifying sewerage licensee which is designated as strategic sewerage provision (as provided for under new sections 117M and 117N). This ensures that essential water and sewerage services provided to premises can continue if the holders of the relevant authorisations become insolvent or otherwise fail to meet their statutory obligations.

252. Paragraphs 50 to 52 and 79 to 86 make repeals and amendments consequential on the new charging rules introduced by clauses 17 to 19.

Schedule 8: Regulation of the water environment

253. In Schedule 8, Part 1 lists the specific purposes for which the power in clause 45 may be used. Part 2 makes supplementary provision.

254. The purposes for which regulations under clause 44 may be made closely follow the purposes for which environmental permitting regulations under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 ("the PPC Act") may be made. This will enable a single system of environmental regulation to be created, combining regulations under clause 44 with regulations under the PPC Act, with common procedural requirements. Schedule 8 provides, for example, that the regulation making power in clause 44 may be used to make regulations requiring those carrying out specified activities to hold permits (paragraph 6); for those permits to contain conditions (paragraphs 8 and 35) which are to be reviewed by the regulator (paragraph 9); for regulators to take enforcement action in relation to permit holders and otherwise (principally paragraphs 13 to 16 and 20 to 25); for the creation of offences (such as failure to comply with permit conditions) (paragraphs 26 and 37); and for rights of appeal (paragraph 29).

255. As under the present regimes, fees will be payable to regulators in relation to the exercise of some of their functions (for example, in relation to the determining of applications for the grant of a permit and for the variation of the conditions of a permit) (paragraphs 11, 12 and 36).

256. Paragraph 30 enables regulations under clause 44 to make provision similar to specified existing legislation. Thus, for example, paragraph 30(1) will allow provision to be made that corresponds, or is similar to, provision made by or under, or capable of being made under, section 71 of the WIA (water from water sources), Chapter 2 of Part 2 of the Water Resources Act 1991 (abstraction and impounding) and Part 1 of the Water Act 2003 (abstraction and impounding). Any existing legislation that is replicated in the regulations in this way may be repealed under clause 44.

257. Paragraph 37 allows the regulations to make provision for offences to be tried summarily only or either summarily or on indictment.

258. Sub-paragraph (6) allows regulations to make provision for offences punishable on indictment to provide for imprisonment for a term not exceeding the period specified in the regulations or a maximum of two years or a fine or both.

259. Transitional provision may be made in the regulations to ensure a smooth transition from the existing regime to the new. New activities and those undergoing substantial change probably will be regulated under the new regime set up under the regulations from the date on which the new regime comes into force. Existing licences, consents and permissions will remain extant and/or transition into the new regime.

Schedule 9: Publication requirements under the Land Drainage Act 1991

260. Schedule 9 amends sections 2(2)(b), 3(4)(b), 38(5)(b), 39(4)(b), 48(3(b) and 58(3) of the Land Drainage Act 1991 to remove restrictions on the way in which public notices for IDBs in England are published. Currently, under these sections notices have to be published in one or more newspapers. These changes will provide for more flexible advertising arrangements and allow the internal drainage boards and the Environment Agency to choose the most appropriate mechanisms, including electronic methods, for reaching their target audience.

261. Paragraph 8 of the Schedule amends paragraph 1(1)(a) of Schedule 5 to the Land Drainage Act 1991 to remove the requirement for Internal drainage boards in England to publish their byelaws in the London Gazette.

Schedule 10: Amendments relating to Regional Flood and Coastal Committees

262. Schedule 10 makes minor amendments to primary legislation and a statutory instrument consequent upon the replacement of Regional Flood Defence Committees with Regional Flood and Coastal Committees by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

FINANCIAL EFFECTS

263. The total monetary benefits for the Water Bill (where monetary benefits and costs have been provided and estimated over a 30-year period) are:

· Total Net Present Value: £1,951 m

· Business Net Present Value: £1,937 m

· Net cost to business per year: -£102 m

(Where Net Present Value = Total Present Value Benefit – Total Present Value Cost)

264. The aggregate Net Present Value of the Bill’s measures as a whole may be underestimated to the extent that certain other benefits have not been able to be expressed in monetary terms.

265. For the majority of the Bill the Government does not anticipate any increase in public expenditure. We will include consideration of any impact arising from the flood insurance measures when the substantive provisions are brought forward. As the majority of the Bill is deregulatory in nature there is a strong possibility that public expenditure will reduce to varying degrees. For example:

· All public bodies will be able to put their water supply arrangements out to tender and thereby reduce their costs and introduce efficiencies by switching to a single supplier or negotiating a service package that better meets their business needs. The Scottish public sector is set to save around £20 million over three years from collectively tendering its water and sewerage services under current arrangements in Scotland.

· Any public sector projects requiring water abstraction and impoundment permits, flood defence consents or fish passage approvals will benefit from reduced administration costs with their incorporation into the Environmental Permitting Regime. This should also reduce the administrative costs of the Environment Agency and the Natural Resources Body for Wales.

· Repealing the legal obligation for the Environment Agency and the Natural Resources Body for Wales to maintain an unused record of the location of resource mains, discharge pipes and waterworks vested in the Agency and to make these maps available for public inspection, should make a saving of around £10,000 per annum in administrative costs.

· Enabling the DWI to continue to recover the full costs of its existing regulatory functions from the water industry will reduce the potential impact on public expenditure. This proposal brings the funding arrangements for the DWI in line with general government policy on charging, which states that businesses which benefit from regulation should bear the cost of regulation, not the taxpayer. The Hampton Review 2005 also included a specific recommendation that regulators should be more accountable to those who benefit from their delivery functions.

PUBLIC SECTOR MANPOWER

266. As with the effect on public expenditure the Water Bill does not anticipate any dramatic change to public service manpower and it is more likely that, because of the deregulatory nature of the Bill, that public sector manpower could reduce slightly. However, there are no specific figures to support this and therefore it is most likely that there will be no impact.

SUMMARY OF THE IMPACT ASSESSMENT

267. The Water Bill’s measures, where necessary, all include separate impact assessments, of which there are 13, and for ease a Summary Impact Assessment has been provided. The Summary Impact Assessment is not a conventional impact assessment and is instead designed to enable readers to quickly assess the key aspects of the Bill measures’ impact assessments and the aggregate totals of any monetary values. The summary includes an outline of what the measure is aiming to achieve, the possible options considered, the costs and benefits of the preferred option and the scope of either the One In One Out or One In Two Out methodologies.

268. With the exception of three (Reform of the Water Special Merger Regime, Drinking Water Inspectorate Charging Scheme and Maps of agency waterworks – repeal section 195 of the Water Resources Act 1991) all are within the scope of these methodologies to identify any new net costs to business from regulatory measures. However, all of the impact assessments have been marked as either "Out" or "Zero Net Cost". The majority have also been positively reviewed by the Regulatory Policy Committee.

269. The Bill Minister has seen and signed all of the Water Bill’s impact assessments, including the Summary, and where necessary has received the Regulatory Policy Committee’s opinion letters.

270. The full individual impact assessments for the Water Bill are available on the UK Parliament’s website.

COMPATIBILITY WITH THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

271. The Government has examined the compatibility of the provisions in the Water Bill with the Convention. In particular, the Government has considered potential arguments that opening up the market to competition interferes with the economic interests of current water suppliers, and that allowing access to their water supply and sewerage systems is a disproportionate interference with their property rights. The Government believes that the Bill’s provisions are compatible with the Convention. Broadly, there is either no property right which enables undertakers and licensees to prevent the liberalisation of a market or if there is such a right, promoting efficiency and consumer interests justifies the interference. Ofwat’s enforcement powers can be exercised compatibly with Convention rights and are necessary in order to give effect to the liberalising measures in the Bill.

COMMENCEMENT DATES

272. The general and final provisions and most of the commencement provisions come into force on Royal Assent. The powers to repeal the threshold requirement in relation to water supply licensing, withdrawal of compensation for water undertakers, the primary duty to secure resilience, notice of agreements and two minor consequential amendments correcting errors in the WIA come into force two months after Royal Assent. The remaining provisions come into force when relevant powers are exercised under the Bill, or by Commencement Order made by the Secretary of State.

Prepared 27th June 2013