House of Commons committee discusses amendments to flood and water bill

Discussions on a proposed code of practice for water companies to adhere to during periods of drought were expected to conclude in the House of Commons this week.

The committee discussing the Flood and Water Management Bill met on five separate days during the past two weeks and was expected to conclude its debates yesterday (21 January).

MPs had the opportunity to question representatives from the NFU, Woodland Trust, Ofwat, Water UK, Environment Agency and Defra.

The 16-strong committee will report on the bill - which responds to pressure to introduce legislation to address the threat of flooding and water scarcity - before it goes to its third reading in the House of Commons.

Committee member Roger Williams tabled the code of practice amendment to the bill last week after working closely with the HTA.

The amendment would introduce a procedure for phasing in water restrictions for gardeners during dry periods and prevent water companies introducing a blanket ban.

Water companies' powers to impose hosepipe bans are currently found in section 76 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

The proposed amendment adds a new section 76D - on codes of practice - to the 1991 act, requiring the secretary of state and Welsh ministers each to issue a code of practice.

It also inserts a provision in the new section 76 requiring water companies to adhere to the code.

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