Britons face soaring water bills as funding plummets, peers warn

Britons face possible water shortages in future because of under-investment in infrastructure, peers have warned.

The Lords’ Industry and Regulators Committee (IRC) blasted the Government’s “lack of leadership and deep-rooted complacency” following an inquiry into the water industry.

The cross-party peers warned under-investment will have “serious long-term consequences” for the environment.

They said water bills are likely to increase in a letter to Environment Secretary Therese Coffey.

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Lord Hollick, chair of the IRC , said: “While the Government has begun to set out its vision for the sector, our cross-party committee has concluded unanimously that there is insufficient policy or drive to meet the Government’s targets. 

“Sadly, the only thing that is becoming clear in the murky, polluted waters of the sewage crisis is a lack of leadership and deep-rooted complacency. 

“The Government must therefore provide firmer policy detail and greater guidance to regulators, who cannot be left to resolve these huge challenges by themselves. 

“In particular, the Government must give clear guidance on the trade-off between much-needed investment and the level of customer bills.”

The peers also expressed dismay with delays in banning wet wipes containing plastics, which they called “unnecessary and deeply damaging” to the environment.

The government reannounced plans to ban plastic wet wipes that clog up Britain’s sewers in April.

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The government previously pledged to crack down on wet wipes, first in 2018 and again in 2021.

The Lords’ report also found proposals for reducing water demand are insufficient to meet Government targets.

Lord Hollick said: “We look forward to the response from the Secretary of State, setting out how she intends to do this.”

The committee called on the Government to set out what action it intends to take to increase investment in the water sector and introduce compulsory water metering.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been contacted for a comment.

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