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Water Act 1989

Volume 229: debated on Friday 23 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on the operation, by water companies, of the code of practice on conservation, access and recreation, approved under the provisions of the Water Act 1989; and if he will make a statement.

The standing committee set up by the Government on the code of practice—comprising representatives from conservation, heritage and recreation bodies, the water industry, the National Rivers Authority and Government Departments—has recently reported on the operation of the code. The report, which has been placed in the Library of the House, confirms that the water industry is carrying forward the environmental policies of its predecessors and in doing so is reflecting the guidance provided in the code on meeting statutory environmental duties.At the time of privatisation, it was widely feared that there would be a deterioration in the conservation activities of the water industry and in its provision for public access and recreation. The report shows that this has not occurred. On the contrary, the indications are that access is being extended and facilities improved.The report also highlights the overall high standard of annual reports published by the water companies, since privatisation, on their work in relation to conservation, access and recreation.