Wales has “constitutional right” to power over water, to help tackle soaring bills, says Delyth Jewell MS

Plaid Cymru has today renewed its calls for Wales to have full control over its water resources to address the problem of sewage in waterways, and to help reduce water bills.

Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Climate Change and Energy, Delyth Jewell MS said that the privatisation of water is a “failed model” and the current legislative framework “doesn’t match Wales’s powers over water to our borders.”

This means that Wales lacks the ability to legislate to stop or control the transfer of water from Wales by private companies that are mainly based in England, but whose jurisdiction does extend into Wales, such as United Utilities, which owns the abstraction licence for the Llyn Efyrnwy (Lake Vyrnwy) reservoir.

While the Silk Commission recommended ending this anomaly, and matching Wales’s powers over water to its borders – as is already the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland – Plaid Cymru recently revealed that Welsh Ministers requested that the devolution of Water, as set out in the 2017 Wales Act, be delayed.

Plaid Cymru is today (Wednesday 7 June) taking a debate to the Senedd that calls for Wales to have the full control over its water resources.

Delyth Jewell MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Climate Change, said:

“At a time when water bills are rising, and the public have genuine concerns about sewage in our rivers and on our beaches, today’s debate could not be more important.

“This is as much about urging Members of the Senedd to support our motion as it is about holding the Welsh Government to account for seemingly placing the transfer of powers on indefinite hold.

“The mechanism to trigger this transfer of power already exists – the Welsh Government need only put in a formal request, but since their request to delay this five years ago, they’ve provided no further clarification as to when this will happen, if at all.

“When the broader water system, which does not respect national borders, puts privatised, commercial companies alongside the Dŵr Cymru model – it’s the people of Wales that are losing out.

“Wales has a constitutional right to power over water, which would give us the means to address the problem of sewage in our rivers and seas, and tackle soaring water bills – and through Plaid Cymru’s debate, the Senedd has the opportunity to show their support for our calls.”

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