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Sewage Discharges

Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 27 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take immediate steps to ensure that sewage discharged into estuaries around the United Kingdom is treated from the earliest possible date, to ensure immediate re-design of any planned developments including long sea outfalls to incorporate full treatment, and to provide Government finance to meet these commitments.

The Government have already taken steps to require that sewage discharged to estuaries and coastal waters is treated from the earliest possible date. All new developments will incorporate treatment, and arrangements are in hand to establish treatment works at existing outfalls. Because of successful privatisation, the £3 billion required is available without recourse to the Treasury.

The Minister has failed to give the simple reassurance for which my question asked—that sewage outfalls such as that at Lavernock will be treated. They are still at the planning stage, so there is time for the Government to make that change and to show that they mean what they say. There is a suspicion in Europe that the Government do not mean what they say. Those of us who served on the Committee on Water Bill last year also suspect that they do not. Can the Minister tell us that outfalls such as Lavernock will be treated, that the change will be made now, when there is still time, and that the Government mean what they say?

Long sea outfalls which have not yet been started will include treatment. Projects already in hand or not yet started will include treatment at a future date.