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Byline: MATTHEW GEORGE

WALES should be paid tens of millions of pounds if England wants its water to solve its growing drought crisis, Lord Wigley has said.

Speaking in Westminster, the Plaid Cymru peer said: "The drought in South East England is putting the pressure on for getting water from Wales and North West England.

"My belief is if there is a need for water from Wales for some of the shortages down here, then it is in the interests of the UK government to bring forward a package to make it worthwhile for Wales.

"There should be some form of recompense, tens not hundreds of millions."

He added: "We could increase the capacity of existing dams, or look at extraction from rivers.

"Or there are possibilities of new sources of water, although no communities will be drowned, as happened in the Tryweryn Valley.

"But Wales must be an equal partner in any development and must not be exploited."

Lord Wigley was speaking before legislation cleared parliament to cut water bills by pounds 50 for customers in South West England, after a pounds 400m handout to a private firm.

The boost is defended because of the cost of keeping the coastline clean.

The legislation also means the Government can limit the cost to Londoners of building a new sewer for the capital.

Lord Wigley said UK Ministers should start talking to the Welsh Government about fair recompense for any water transfers.

Government Minister Lord Taylor said any English water plan to construct or enlarge Welsh reservoirs would have to be approved by the Welsh devolved authorities.

CAPTION(S):

Natural resource: Wales reservoir's, such as the Alwen on Denbigh moors, are holding up better than England's in the dry weather
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Mar 29, 2012
Words:289
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