HC Deb 16 February 1970 vol 796 cc10-1
16. Mr. E. Hudson Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has had from local authorities on Circular 97/69 regarding surface water run-off; if he is aware of the dangerously increased volume of water carried by streams in the Betws-y-Coed area as a result of Forestry Commission drainage in the vicinity of Elsie Lake; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter.

Mr. E. Rowlands

My right hon. Friend has had representations from one local authority, Betws-y-Coed Urban District Council. He is not aware that the volume of water draining from Forestry Commission land in the area has dangerously increased. My right hon. Friend understands that, after consultation between the Commission, the Conway Valley Water Board, the Urban District Council and local proprietors, the level of the lake during the winter months has been lowered and the main watercourse leading from it has been deepened.

Mr. Davies

Is my hon. Friend aware that, in the case of Elsie Lake, recent afforestation has led to a considerable number of extra acres falling within the catchment area of streams passing through the village of Betws-y-Coed, with a great deal of resultant damage? Is he not unhappy that the Forestry Commission is not legally responsible for the effect on land owners of drainage schemes which the Commission undertakes?

Mr. Rowlands

I understand that cases are to hand, and it would not be proper for me to comment on the matter at present. The Forestry Commission suggests that it is not liable, and that is for the courts to work out.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

The Secretary of State is responsible for forestry in Wales. Will he make certain that, wherever possible, both state and private forestry concerns, when doing forestry draining, go in for contour draining, which is what is required?

Mr. Rowlands

I will consider that interesting suggestion.