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Water Authorities

Volume 181: debated on Friday 30 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the names and occupations of all members of water authorities' customer services committees region by region for the last three years.

Before privatisation the former regional water authorities set up consumer consultative committees on an area basis within their territories and were responsible for all appointments, details of which are not available. Under the Water Act 1989 the Director General of Water Services has established 10 customer service committees (CSCs) to represent the interests of customers and potential customers of the 39 appointed companies. The CSC areas correspond broadly with those of the former water authorities. The director general announced on 27 February this year the appointment of chairmen of the CSCs after consultation with the Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry and for Wales as appropriate, and with my Department; and he subsequently appointed a number of members to each committee. Their names were given in the director general's annual report, which was laid before the House on 19 June and a copy of which is in the Library.For further personal details I refer the hon. Member to the director general.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which Government guidelines or recommendations preclude industrial consumers from membership of any of the customer services committees connected with the water authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the criteria applied for membership of customer services committees of regional water authorities.

Under the terms of the Water Act the Director General of Water Services appoints the chairmen of customer service committees after consultation with the Secretary of State, and not fewer than 10 or more than 20 other members to each committee at his discretion. The only criteria laid down are that the director shall have regard to the desirability of persons appointed having experience and capability in some matter relevant to the functions of a water or sewerage undertaker in the committee's area and the inclusion of one or more persons with experience of the needs of the disabled or who may themselves be disabled persons.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the number of meetings held by each water authority customer services committee for each of the last three years.

Particulars are not available for the consumer consultative committees which were set up by the former regional water authorities. The operation of the customer service committees established under the provisions of the Water Act 1989 is a matter for the Director General of Water Services.