§ (1) The provisions of this section shall have effect where an application under section 33 of this Act is made in a case falling within subsection (1,b) of that section; and in this section "the relevant period" means the period of five years ending with the second appointed day or the period beginning with the date on which the applicant or his predecessors began to abstract water from the source of supply in question and ending with the second appointed day, whichever is the shorter.800
§ (2) Subject to the following provisions of this section, any quantity specified in the licence as a quantity of water authorised to be abstracted in pursuance of the licence during a period or periods so specified shall be determined by reference to the requirements of the applicant, as indicated by (and not, except by virtue of the next following subsection, to be taken to exceed) the quantities of water proved to the reasonable satisfaction of the river authority—
- (a) to have been abstracted from the source of supply in question by the applicant or his predecessors from time to time during the relevant period, and
- (b) to have been so abstracted for use on the land on which, and for the purposes for which, water abstracted in pursuance of the licence is authorised by the licence to be used:
§ Provided that paragraph (b) of this subsection shall not apply in the case of a licence granted to waiter undertakers for the purposes of their undertaking as water undertakers.
§ (3) In determining any quantity to be specified in the licence, the river authority shall have regard to such of the following masters as are proved to their reasonable satisfaction (in addition to the quantities of water proved to have been abstracted as mentioned in the last preceding subsection) that is to say—
- (a) the seasons of the year during which the quantities of water abstracted during the relevant period, as mentioned in the last preceding subsection, were so abstracted;
- (b) the extent to which the abstraction of water has during the relevant period been, or is intended to be, limited to special occasions when, by reason of accident or other emergency, there has been, or may be, a temporary deficiency of water from other sources of supply;
- (c) the extent to which works, machinery or apparatus were reasonably provided by the applicant or his predecessors in anticipation of future requirements.
§ (4) Any provision made by the licence as to the quantity of water authorised to be abstracted shall be such as will not permit the abstraction of water in excess of the quantity shown to the reasonable satisfaction of the river authority to be capable of being abstracted by means of works, machinery or apparatus which were constructed or installed before the second appointed day, or were in the course of being constructed or installed on that day, not being works, machinery or apparatus provided for use only in the event of an accident or other emergency involving a total or partial failure of other works, machinery or apparatus.
§ (5) Where the purposes specified in the licence as the purposes for which water abstracted in pursuance of the licence is to be used consist of or include spray irrigation, then, unless it is proved to the reasonable satisfaction of the river authority either—
- (a) that the applicant or his predecessors has before the passing of this Act abstracted water from the source of supply in question for the purpose of spray irrigation, or
- (b) that before the passing of this Act the applicant or his predecessors began to construct a reservoir for the storage of water to be abstracted from that source of supply and used for the purpose of spray irrigation, and that reservoir was completed and brought into use for that purpose before the second appointed day,
§ Mr. Corfield
I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.
May I take it, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that we may consider, at the same time, the Amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend to leave out Clause 35?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir William Anstruther-Gray)
If that will be for the covenience of the House, by all means.
§ Mr. Corfield
This new Clause and the Amendment follow upon undertakings given during proceedings on the Bill both in Standing Committee and in another place to review the provision for the terms of a licence of right. Some degree of apprehension was expressed, particularly by existing industrial abstractors, who may have been abstracting in such a way that there was perhaps a difficulty in proving the exact amount which they have been using over any period, about how this amount was to be written in as the quantity for which they were licensed.
The general tenor of the new Clause is to attach the terms of the licence of right much more closely to the evidence of previous extraction over the five-year period. I do not think that there is anything of great complication in the new Clause, but it follows the undertaking to make the quantity, or the calculation of the quantity, rather more precise.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
I thank the Minister for the consideration given to the water industry. As he rightly said, there was a considerable degree of apprehension upon the part of the water industry as to the effect of people establishing rights immediately, knowing that the Bill was coming into force and before it became law and was in operation. I am happy to say that the water industry particularly welcomes subsection (5) of this new 802 Clause and very much appreciates the manner in which the Minister has met its fears. I am, therefore, happy to support the new Clause.
§ Mr. John H. Osborn (Sheffield, Hallam)
May I, as one who raised on Second Reading, and in Committee, the position of the non-statutory users, say how grateful we are to the Minister for having put forward this new Clause?
One of the difficulties in Committee was the position of the industrial user of water as against the person who wishes to use water for pleasure purposes. Clause 35, undoubtedly, as it appeared in Committee, was unsatisfactory. At a particular stage of that Committee, late in the evening, one or two of us had comments to make but could not make them. This new Clause, as far as it goes, is acceptable to many non-statutory users. I endeavoured in Committee to table a new Clause but this was not called for obvious reasons.
One of the concerns of non-statutory users was that the river authority would, in effect, have too much power, and the words, in Clause 34,…the provision made by the licence as to the quantity of water authorised to be abstracted shall be such as the river authority consider appropriate…has caused a certain amount of concern.
As the Parliamentary Secretary said, one of the difficulties is knowing how much water has been used and how much water will be used in the future. This redrafted Cause is much clearer and more acceptable to many users, particularly industrial users, such as a factory which has assumed that the use of water is part of the standing assets of its own company. I should like to support the new Clause, and thank the Parliamentary Secretary for bringing it forward.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.