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Water Management: S&T Report

Volume 686: debated on Monday 30 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to paragraph 8.26 of their response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee report, Water Management (8th Report, HL Paper 191-I), why the national strategy plan has to be submitted to the European Commission; when they expect the European Commission to respond; and whether there will be any delay in applying the strategy as a result; and [HL7798]

Further to paragraph 8.26 of their response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee report, Water Management (8th Report, HL Paper 191–I), what is a strategy plan; and how a strategy plan differs from a strategy.[HL7799]

The new rural development regulation, agreed in September 2005, provides member states with a framework to target funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development during the next programming period: 2007-2013. To unlock this funding the regulation requires us to submit to the EU Commission a national strategy plan plus an accompanying, and more detailed, programme document.

The national strategy plan is the term the EU Commission uses for a strategy that sets out at a high level: our priorities for action; a summary of the evidence base for our approach across the rural development programme's objectives; and, information about how we will co-ordinate rural development funding with other EU derived funds.

The regulation requires the strategy to be developed at member state level. As rural development is an area of devolved responsibility, there will be an overarching UK national strategy plan, highlighting the common themes between our four countries, with annexes covering the strategies for rural development in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We expect the EU Commission to respond to the strategy this autumn. However, the Commission does not formally approve the strategy and submission of the strategy is not dependent on having agreement on overall budgets. Therefore it is unlikely that there will be any delay in applying the strategy as a result of the Commission's response to it.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to Annex A of their response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee report, Water Management (8th Report, HL Paper 191–I), if the additional dwellings planned for under scenario 3 are not to be occupied by “new people”, what provision they have made to accommodate new immigrants from European Union member states to ensure that they will not have a net impact on water demand.[HL7801]

All water companies have water resource management plans which look ahead 25 years and include projections of current and future demands for water. These plans are regularly updated to account for factors such as projections of household numbers and occupancy rates and the implications of climate change. Water companies' water resource management plans are currently produced voluntarily.

In April 2007 it is proposed to make the plans a statutory requirement, using powers in the Water Act 2003. The population and housing number estimates for these plans will be informed by the regional spatial strategy and by consultation with planning bodies.