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UK and Welsh governments sign water powers agreement

The UK and Welsh governments are set to form an agreement over water which will see powers shared between the two.

Currently, the UK government has powers which allows it to intervene if it believes devolved functions risk having a “serious adverse impact” on water resources, water supply or water quality in England. But Welsh ministers do not have reciprocal powers.

The protocol, which was being laid jointly before the UK Parliament and National Assembly for Wales yesterday (November 16), replaces the secretary of state's intervention powers with a reciprocal agreement between the UK and Welsh governments

It dictates no action or inaction of either administration should have any serious adverse impact on either Wales or England.

The Welsh government describes the deal as an “important milestone” for Wales’ devolution journey.

Lesley Griffiths, AM, cabinet secretary for energy, planning and rural affairs, said: “The introduction of this protocol addresses an existing imbalance in the devolution settlement that could, in theory, result in UK Government Ministers intervening in matters that are the responsibility of the Welsh Government. 

“I am pleased with the constructive and positive way in which both administrations have approached the drafting and implementation of an agreement which, importantly, means water consumers on both sides of the border are safeguarded”.

The new protocol is expected to come into force on April 1, 2018. 

Author: Katey Pigden,
Topic: Policy & Regulation
Tags: government , Wales , England , Water Quality , administration , Water supply

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