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Water Act 2003

154. .Section 44: Provision of information to the Council.

This section adds four new sections (27H to 27K) to the WIA.

155.New section 27H grants the Council rights to direct the Authority, undertakers or licensed water suppliers to supply information it needs to carry out its functions. Those so directed must provide the information as soon as reasonably practicable and in the form the Council requires. The Council is required to have regard to the desirability of minimising the compliance burden for the Authority and the undertakers. If a body does not provide information sought by the Council, it must give the Council its reasons if the Council requires.

156.New section 27I allows the Council to publish reasons that the body gives for any refusal to supply it with information in its possession, provided that those to whom the information relates have consented, or it is already in the public domain, or it will not cause serious and prejudicial effects to those to whom it relates. The Council is obliged to consult such persons in this last case, and to consider the opinion of the Authority, before deciding whether to publish the reasons. Disclosure is also restricted where information relates to any matter which is, or likely to be, the subject of criminal proceedings. The Council, in deciding whether disclosure is appropriate in such cases, needs to consider the opinions of the Secretary of State, the Assembly or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

157.New section 27J enables the Authority, the Secretary of State or the Assembly to direct the Council to provide reasonable information which they require for the exercise of their functions. These bodies are entitled to reasons from the Council for a refusal to provide the information requested. These bodies may publish the reasons, subject to the need to exclude information the publication of which might cause serious and prejudicial effects to persons to whom it relates.

158.New section 27K gives the Secretary of State a power to make regulations setting out the categories of information which the Authority or an undertaker may refuse to provide when the Council requests it, or the categories of information which the Council may withhold from the Authority or the Secretary of State when a request is made.

159.Subsection (2) in new section 27K provides that an undertaker’s refusal to supply information to the Council can be referred to the Authority. Under subsection (3) in new section 27K the Secretary of State may provide through regulations for another person to adjudicate failures to comply with any directions under sections 27H or 27J.

160.Subsection (4) in new section 27K sets out the duties of an adjudicator. An order against a company issued under this section is enforceable by the Authority.

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