Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Twelfth Report


Schedule 8 — Minor and consequential amendments: licensing of water suppliers etc.

Section 69 WIA

Power conferred on:    Secretary of State

Power exercisable by:    Regulation/Statutory instrument

Parliamentary procedure:    Negative Procedure

Section 69 of the Water Industry Act describes the current power for the Secretary of State to make regulations to require a water undertaker to take steps to comply with its duties under Section 68 (water quality duties). This amendment of section 69 inserts a reference to 'licensed water suppliers' that will enable the Secretary of State to extend the regulations to the new licensed water suppliers to ensure that they also take such steps in order that they comply with their water quality duties. In addition regulations can make provision for use of various substances in making water supplies and provide for making available water quality information.

The powers to make regulations to require a water undertaker to take steps to make sure that they comply with their water quality duties, add appropriate substances to water and provide information, already exist in Section 69 of the Water Industry Act. This amendment ensures that the licensed water suppliers introduced by the Bill can be included in the regulations. As licensed water suppliers can be involved in the introduction of drinking water to the public network and of water supply to customers it is necessary that they are under the same duties as water undertakers with regard to wholesomeness of water supplies. The powers delegated to the Secretary of State in the Water Industry Act were to ensure regulations were up to date and flexible enough to ensure water undertakers took the necessary steps to comply with the water quality duties.

Section 74 WIA

Power conferred on:    Secretary of State.

Power exercisable by:    Regulation/Statutory instrument

Parliamentary procedure:    Negative Procedure

Section 74 of the Water Industry Act currently allows the Secretary of State to make regulations to ensure water is not contaminated or wasted and water fittings are suitable. This allows the provisions of the regulations to extend to licensed water suppliers.

Since licensed water suppliers are involved in the provision of wholesome water, regulations preventing contamination etc. must apply to them also. The powers conferred on undertakers (section 76 of the Act) under these provisions will also apply in relation to licensed water suppliers' customers.

Section 208 WIA

Power conferred on:    Secretary of State

Power exercisable by:    Direction

Parliamentary procedure:    None

Section 208 of the Water Industry Act allows the Secretary of State to give directions of a general character to water undertakers in the interests of national security. The Secretary of State may also direct an undertaker to do a particular thing specified in the direction. Schedule 8 inserts a reference to 'licensed water suppliers' to Section 208 to allow the Secretary of State, subject to consulting the Assembly, to give directions to licensed water suppliers in addition to undertakers and to direct them to do particular things.

The power to give general directions to undertakers, in the interests of national security already exists in the Water Industry Act. This power was given to mitigate the effects of any civil emergency that has occurred or may occur. This amendment ensures that the licensed water suppliers are included in the framework for emergency directions. It is essential that licensed water suppliers, especially those introducing water into the public network, are involved in preparations for dealing with national emergencies in a similar way to water undertakers.


 
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