Comment: A further step rippling from Labour’s threat to renationalise the water industry. MPs are sharpening their knives and even a cursory glimpse of the report on the collapse of Carillion will reveal a new appetite for highlighting boardroom greed. Carillion collapsed as a result of “recklessness, hubris and greed” among directors who put their own financial rewards ahead of all other concerns, according to an excoriating report into the firm’s demise that spreads the blame between board members, the government, accountants and regulators. Bob Earll

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is today launching an inquiry into the Regulation of the Water Industry.  The inquiry will consider how well the water industry serves consumers and the environment, how innovation can be encouraged and whether current regulatory enforcement mechanisms are fit for purpose. Further, it will consider the potential benefits of regulatory divergence post-Brexit.

Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said:

“The water industry is facing a number of challenges. As the UK’s population increases and the impact of climate change becomes more apparent, pressure will be put on water resources and the industry’s ability to provide a reliable and safe supply of water to commercial and domestic consumers. “Ofwat has recently criticised water companies for their performance around incidents of leakage and pollution, as well as of their financial arrangements. Our inquiry will scrutinise this essential industry closely and, where necessary, lay out the steps necessary to resolve any issues that are identified”.  

Terms of reference

In particular, the Committee seeks written submissions that address the following issues:

  1. Is regulation of the water industry improving outcomes for consumers and the environment?
  2. Is the water industry adequately delivering a “twin-track approach” of increasing water supplies and reducing water demand?
  3. How can innovation be increased in the water industry?
  4. Are penalties and enforcement mechanisms encouraging responsible behaviour?
  5. Are there any potential benefits for the environment that could be achieved though regulatory divergence post-Brexit?

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