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Water Services

Volume 961: debated on Wednesday 24 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many meetings he has attended in the past week connected with measures being taken to ensure normal functioning of water services;(2) what representations he has received from local authorities regarding the standard of water services in the North-West;(3) what measures he is taking to ensure that water services are functioning normally;(4) if he is satisfied with the functioning of water services in the North-West; and what are his main concerns;(5) if he is satisfied with the functioning of water services; what are his main areas of concern; and to what parts of the United Kingdom they apply.

I have received no formal representations from local authorities, but I have been and continue to be in close touch with both the National Water Council and the regional water authorities.In the country generally, water services are functioning normally. There is unofficial industrial action in parts of the North-West, Severn-Trent and Yorkshire areas and in Wales, but there are no indications of any risk to public health as a result. In the North-West water authority, workers in the Pennine division who had been on unofficial strike returned to work on Monday. The Government are keeping a close watch on the situation and stands firmly behind the efforts of the water authorities to maintain normal supplies.Following negotiations in the National Joint Industrial Council for the water services last week, the trade union side have agreed to recommend acceptance of an offer to their members. My main concern now is that all those on unofficial strike should return to work without delay and avoid any further inconvenience to the public.