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  • by Karma Loveday

Welsh minister asserts progress is being made on water quality

Welsh government minister for climate change, Julie James, told the Senedd last week that “significant progress” had been made in 2023 towards improving water quality in Wales – but “there is a long way to go in the coming year and beyond”.

Among the actions taken, she listed:

  • committing to designate inland areas for bathing – during the 2023 bathing season, Natural Resources Wales ran a pilot on seven different rivers, lakes and reservoirs to gather information on bathing numbers, facilities, risks,  issues and likely water quality;

  • strengthening water quality monitoring – including supporting a Cardiff University project to explore options for an open-data gateway that meets the needs of data providers and users;

  • convening a new sustainable drainage community of practice, to enhance current sustainable drainage requirements and processes so that sustainable drainage approving bodies can deliver an effective and efficient regime;

  • taking a "team Wales approach” – including via the recent launch of the Teifi demonstrator catchment project, a multi-year, cross-sector initiative to improve water management by thinking differently and using innovative solutions;

  • acting on storm overflows – including the October publication of the  storm overflow evidence for Wales report; and

  • hosting three multi-stakeholder river pollution summits, including most recently on 30 November, which took stock of progress made against the March action plan. The next summit is scheduled for March 2024.

James said a balance must be struck in 2025-30 between continuing improvements and keeping  bills affordable.


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