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Water Authority Land (Access)

Volume 169: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is considering any changes to the access arrangements to water authority land which were made at the time of privatisation.

The Water Act 1989 imposes general environmental and recreational duties, enforceable by the Secretary of State, on the new water companies. In particular they are required to have regard to the desirability of preserving freedom of access to areas of natural beauty and to sites of architectural or historic interest, and to ensure that their water and land is made available for recreational purposes in the best manner.A code of practice approved by Ministers gives practical guidance to and promotes desirable practices by the companies and other relevant bodies on the performance of these duties. A copy of the code is available in the Library of the House.There are no plans to amend these statutory duties or the code of practice. However, a Standing Committee is to be set up shortly comprising representatives of the water industry and of the main conservation and recreation interests, to monitor the relevance and effectiveness of the code.