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This note provides information on the Water Bill’s Committee, Report and Third Reading stages in the Lords. It highlights amendments made to the Bill and also gives a brief account of other significant amendments discussed. It does not provide an exhaustive account of proceedings or document every amendment discussed.

The main amendments made to the Bill’s water industry provisions during the Lords stages concerned:

-Retail exit: A government amendment was introduced at Lords Third Reading stage to provide incumbent (monopoly) water companies with a mechanism to exit the non-household retail market, subject to the consent of the Secretary of State. The amendment was passed without a vote; amendments with similar aims had been tabled by other Members during the Bill’s previous stages.

-Water abstraction reform: During the Bill’s Lords’ Committee Stage, several Members expressed concern that the Bill’s provisions on opening up the water industry to competition may have environmental risks in the absence of parallel reforms to the regulatory regime for water abstraction.

-Flood Re Scheme: Regulations implementing the scheme would be subject to the affirmative procedure.

A Government amendment tabled at Report Stage requires the Secretary of State to prepare a report on the progress being made on water abstraction reform within 5 years from the day the Act is passed.

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