UK and Welsh governments sign a new water powers agreement

The UK and Welsh governments are set to form a water powers agreement where the authority to
make decisions over water will be shared between them. The new protocol, expected to come into
force in April 2018, will mean that UK ministers will lose their power to intervene in Welsh waterrelated
decisions.

Currently the UK Government has overriding powers to intervene where it believes that devolved
functions risk having a “serious adverse impact” on water resources, water supply or water quality in
England. But Welsh Ministers do not have the reciprocal powers.

The protocol would prevent another Tryweryn, where in 1965, the Welsh village, Capel Celyn was
flooded to create the Tryweryn reservoir, to provide water for Liverpool. The scheme was pushed
through Westminster Parliament in 1957, although not one Welsh MP backed it.

The Welsh Government has described the deal as an “important milestone” for Wales’ devolution
journey.

Image: Ian Medcalf

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