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Baroness Byford: I thank the Minister for proposing the amendments. As he said, the majority of them are technical, and he was kind enough to circulate some explanatory notes with them. At this stage, there is nothing specific that I want to raise, so I think that we on these Benches accept the amendments as they stand.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: I rise simply to check something. I have the Minister's explanation on Amendment No. 168M. Is he saying that without that amendment, the proceedings could not be brought? In debate on when proceedings could be brought at an earlier sitting of the Committee, my understanding was that actions could be brought in situations of breach of duty in any case. Why is the amendment necessary?

Lord Whitty: I cannot even find the right page on Amendment No. 168M, so I will have to dig beyond my initial explanation and write to the noble Baroness.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: I am sure that a letter would be helpful, as it will probably be easier to understand when I read it slowly in any case. If the noble Lord writes to me, will he ensure that his office addresses any letters to Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer? If they are not addressed that way, the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon, gets my post. That is obviously an inconvenience to her but, if she is away, any such post can take a week or more to reach me.

Lord Whitty: My apologies for that to both the noble Baroness and, probably even more so, the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 168B to 168E:

    Page 163, line 14, leave out from "that" to end of line 16 and insert "an introduction designated under this section as a strategic supply no longer constitutes such a supply, it shall cancel its designation."

    Page 163, line 18, leave out "a supply" and insert "an introduction"

    Page 163, line 24, leave out "a supply" and insert "an introduction"

    Page 163, line 25, leave out second "supply" and insert "introduction"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Baroness Byford moved Amendment No. 168EA:

    Page 163, line 28, leave out "for domestic purposes"

The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment 168EA, I shall speak to Amendment No. 168FD. We have two more probing amendments. We understand—we have been told—that the 50 litre threshold will mean that the market opened for licensed water suppliers will be about 2,000 customers. Page 131 of the Bill lays down the requirements in relation to premises supplied by the licensed water supplier. The first of those is that the premises are not household premises. Will the Minister explain why such a tight definition does not apparently rule out the supply of water for domestic purposes? That deals with Amendment No. 168EA.

Amendment No. 168FD is another probing amendment. Will the list of companies to which the strategic supply may be transferred include water undertakers, or will that be a last resort to be used only when another licensed water supplier cannot be found to do that particular job? I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: Household premises would use water exclusively for domestic purposes, whereas non-household premises generally use water for both domestic and non-domestic purposes. That is why the Bill refers to household rather than domestic premises. All water supplied through potable water systems has to meet the statutory standards for quality, whether it is domestic or non-domestic.

Baroness Byford: What a simple response. Can I tempt the Minister to look at the Bill and explain it in those few words? It certainly does not read that way. Can I crave the indulgence of the Minister and his team to consider slightly rewording the Bill to make the provision so obvious? One sometimes feels foolish tabling amendments, but when one cannot find an answer to what is obvious to the Government but not to those of us who may have to come back to a Bill at some stage, such rewording would be enormously helpful. It would involve only a few words. I urge the Minister to consider it.

Lord Livsey of Talgarth: I wholeheartedly support what the noble Baroness said. The Minister has put over a crucial piece of information so far as households are concerned. Clarity in this respect is absolutely vital.

Lord Whitty: I will have a look to see whether anything can clarify the provision. The problem is that

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charging specifies domestic and non-domestic, whereas the type of use of water is as I have described. It is not going to be so easy to clarify the Bill.

Baroness Byford: I appreciate that it may not be easy, but the noble Lord has a great reputation for trying to put problems right. I hope that we can persuade him to tackle that one little job. When talking about households, it is quite obvious that they might use some water for a domestic purpose and that the rest will be for business, but the Bill is certainly not clear to that effect. I hope that he will think about the problem. At this stage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 168F:

    Page 163, line 28, at end insert—

(1) Subsection (2) below applies if at any time the Authority determines that two or more introductions of water—
(a) which are made by a licensed water supplier; and
(b) which a water undertaker is required to permit under section 66B or 66C above in accordance with agreements under section 66D above,
constitute a collective strategic supply of water.
(2) The Authority shall designate the introductions as a collective strategic supply.
(3) Subsection (4) below applies if—
(a) a water undertaker requests the Authority to make a determination that two or more introductions of water constitute a collective strategic supply for the purposes of subsection (1) above, or
(b) the Authority otherwise proposes to make a determination that two or more introductions of water constitute a collective strategic supply for the purposes of that subsection.
(4) The Authority shall give notice of the request or proposed determination to—
(a) the Secretary of State;
(b) the Assembly;
(c) the Environment Agency;
(d) the other party or parties, or the parties, to the agreements under section 66D above; and
(e) such other persons (if any) as the Authority thinks it appropriate to notify.
(5) Any such notice shall specify the time (not being less than twenty-eight days from the date on which the notice was given) within which representations or objections with respect to the request or proposed determination may be made.
(6) The Authority shall consider any representations or objections which are duly made and not withdrawn.
(7) If the Authority determines that introductions designated under this section as a collective strategic supply no longer constitute such a supply, it shall cancel their designation.
(8) If the Authority proposes to make a determination under subsection (7) above that introductions no longer constitute a collective strategic supply, it shall give notice of the proposed determination to the persons specified in paragraphs (a) to (d) of subsection (4) above.
(9) Subsection (5) above applies to a notice under subsection (8) above as it applies to a notice under subsection (4) above (and subsection (6) above applies accordingly).

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(10) For the purposes of this section, introductions of water are a collective strategic supply if, without those introductions being made, there is a substantial risk that the water undertaker would be unable to maintain supplies to its own customers as well as supplying the customers of the licensed water supplier in question with water for domestic purposes."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Byford moved Amendment No. 168FA:

    Page 164, line 8, at end insert ", or

(c) the wronged water undertaker"

The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 168FA, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 168FB and 168FC. The first two amendments are linked. Say a person or company that should not do so supplies waters to premises ". Surely a water undertaker above all should be entitled to take the offender to court. As the Bill stands, I do not think that he is able to. That is why we have asked for the addition of proposed new Section 66H(7)(c), which suggests that,

    Xthe wronged water undertaker",

should be in a position to take that person to court.

Amendment No. 168FC is again a probing amendment. Through it, we are asking about exemptions. What are they? What person or class of persons is supposed to be exempt? What reasons and evidence will the Secretary of State have for taking such action? Proposed new Sections 66H(1) and 66I(1) specify "water", so presumably the exemption could not be used for fluoride or other chemicals—or could it, provided that the chemical was diluted to " parts of a million?

The amendments are a little technical, but I beg to move.

12.45 p.m.

Lord Whitty: The amendments seek to allow undertakers to initiate prosecutions against unauthorised use of their network. New Section 66H prohibits supply from the public network except by the undertaker or a licensee. New Section 66I prohibits the introduction of water into the supply network by anyone other than the undertaker, a neighbouring undertaker in accordance with an agreement, or a combined licensed water supplier.

Persons offending against either of these prohibitions will be liable to prosecution by the Secretary of State. The noble Baroness seeks to give a right of prosecution to the undertakers. It would not be appropriate to give the undertakers the right to prosecute as the offence would be related to access to their networks and therefore they would be directly involved. It would not be appropriate to give them the right to pursue a criminal prosecution.

Amendment No. 168FC would remove the ability of the Secretary of State to create exemptions from the new prohibitions. The noble Baroness is suspicious of this provision and wishes to ascertain what exemptions there will be. It is not entirely clear that there will be any exemptions, but we would not wish inadvertently to close off the possibility of local activity, which we

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can designate either as not appropriate or which we can license. I cannot think of any specific examples where that would apply but, by virtue of the age of the water industry, we cannot be aware of every local arrangement. We want to give ourselves a little bit of elbow room in that regard.

The main point on the earlier amendments is that we would not wish to give the undertakers the right to prosecute because they would be party to the dispute.

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