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Water And Sewage

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which environmental enhancements agreed for the current periodic review of water and sewage prices have been achieved by each water and sewage company in England; and which will (a) be achieved and (b) not be achieved within the agreed time scale in each case. [109090]

The tables needed to answer this question have been prepared by the Environment Agency and placed in the House Library. They show for each water and water and sewerage undertaker, the numbers of schemes delivering improvements to the environment whose completion during 2000–05 was expected by the Director General of Water Services (Ofwat) when he set price limits for that period. The tables also show the numbers completed by 1 April 2002 and the number that remain to be completed, taking account of adjustments agreed since the programme was determined in 1999.It is not yet possible to say which, if any, of the outstanding schemes will not be completed within the time scale agreed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the compatibility of the provisions of the Water Bill with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive; [113672]

(2) if she will make it her policy to implement the provisions of the Water Framework Directive by primary legislation; [113673]

(3) what provisions contained in the Water Bill are intended to implement requirements of the Water Framework Directive. [113674]

The Water Bill is not, and has never been, intended to transpose the Water Framework Directive.Our intention is to give effect to the Directive through secondary legislation under the European Communities Act 1972. Many of the necessary powers needed to comply with the Directive already exist. We have consulted widely on our proposals to transpose the Directive and will continue to do so. Much of the existing legislative framework for water resources in England will implement the Directive, for example, controls over the abstraction of fresh surface water and ground water and impoundment of fresh surface water, including a register or registers of water abstractions.Some provisions in the Water Bill will help implement some of the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, in particular articles 11(3)

(c) and (e). These elements were planned after the Government published "Taking Water Responsibly" in March 1999, which suggested updating the framework for abstraction licensing to improve water resource management.

The Water Bill will help implement Article 11(3) (c) by placing water undertakers under an enforceable duty to conserve water in carrying out their functions. The licensing requirements of the Water Resources Act 1991 largely implement Article 11(3) (e) already, and proposals in the Bill are consistent with that.