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Water: National Security

Volume 495: debated on Monday 29 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on the publication of the Basingstoke Water Cycle report of the interpretation of the national security circular in relation to water assets. (282804)

This Department provides guidance to water asset owners and operators on a range of security issues, including the release of information that may impact on the physical security of those assets and on national security. Guidance is generally delivered in the form of thematic Advice Notes issued under the provisions of the Security and Emergency Measures Direction 1998. That guidance is developed in conjunction with the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.

In some instances, the owner or operator of a water asset may decide, on the basis of the guidance, that information should be withheld from publication on grounds of national security. We understand that in the case of the Basingstoke Water Cycle report, the water asset owner has referred to our guidance in requesting that certain information be withheld from wider public circulation.