Environment secretary Michael Gove faced questions on his priorities for Brexit negotiations at a House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee evidence session on Wednesday.
On Friday, Gove announced a multi-agency flood plan review.
Conservative peer Lord Moynihan asked for an update on abstraction reform. Parliamentary under-secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Lord Gardiner of Kimble was non-specific in his answer: “In due course we will publish a water abstraction plan that will detail how we will manage abstraction in a way that is modern, fairer and more resilient and that protects the environment. The plan will set out how the Environment Agency will modify abstraction licences to reflect better the needs of the environment.”
Opposition Whip Lord Stevenson of Balmacara championed discussion of amendment 22 to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill on 31 October. He quoted Water UK’s Rae Stewart as supporting the “breathing space” amendment for those struggling to pay their bills: “I thought that you might like to know that the water industry backs a breathing space for those people struggling to pay bills and who are seeking financial advice. But although we already operate that way as an industry, we believe that such a scheme will only be properly effective if other companies follow suit. After all, any responsible creditor—whether in the private sector or public sector—would support a breathing space. It’s something that’s been talked about for years, so we very much support its introduction soon”.