New section 39F Plans and joint proposals: regulations about procedure
646 Subsection (1) provides powers under which the Secretary of State or Welsh Ministers may make regulations setting the procedure for preparing and publishing joint proposals, water resources management plans and drought plans. It is likely that the regulations will largely cover similar requirements as the existing regulations for water resources planning (the Water Resources Management Plan Regulations 2007) and drought planning (the Drought Plan Regulations 2005). The existing regulations set out publication requirements and how responses to the consultations should be considered, as well as procedural requirements for inquires or hearings. It is also likely that the new regulations may also include provisions that permit the use of modern consultation platforms and improve the existing requirements for the sharing of information and the handling of confidential information.
647 Subsection (2) provides that the regulations may include requirements for the sharing information, including requirements that water supply licensees must share with water undertakers such information as the water undertaker may reasonably request.
648 Subsection (3) provides that the regulations may include requirements on how water undertakers should consult with other bodies, who they should consult, the timing of any consultation and the publication of statements relating to any consultation.
649 Subsection (4) provides that the regulations may include the procedures for preparing and circulating drafts, including provision for the Minister to require changes to a draft plan or proposal.
650 Subsection (5) provides that the regulations may include requirements to ensure that people likely to be affected by the plan or proposal have a reasonable opportunity to make representations to the Minister.
651 Subsection (6) provides that the regulations may include requirements about how water undertakers should handle the responses they receive and that the Secretary of State or Welsh Ministers may cause a public local inquiry or other hearing to be held in connection with a water resources management plan or drought plan.
652 Subsection (7) provides that the regulations may include requirements about how water undertakers should handle commercially confidential information.
653 Subsection (8) provides that references to the Minister in that section, including the power to make regulations, is conferred on the Secretary of State for water undertakers whose areas are wholly or mainly in England and Welsh Ministers in relation to water undertakers whose areas are wholly or mainly in Wales.