HC Deb 07 July 1971 vol 820 cc1333-4
31. Mr. Carol Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the purpose of the meeting which took place on 14th Tune, 1971, between one of the Under-Secretaries of State and the Devon River Authority and Southwest Devon Water Board; and if he will make a statement.

38. Mr. John Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, following the recent visit to the Southwest of the Under-Secretary of State, he is now able to make a statement regarding the water shortage in Devon.

Mr. Peter Walker

My hon. Friend visited the South-West and met representatives of the Devon and Cornwall river authorities and water undertakers to hear and see something of their problems first hand, and to find out how central Government might help with the immediate problems, in particular of drought in parts of North Devon. In the event, rain has put off the need to use stand-pipes to restrict consumption. The North Devon Water Board is now exploring the practicability of partly filling the Meldon reservoir in advance of the completion of the dam so as to avoid shortages next year.

Mr. Johnson

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that very full statement. Would he give an assurance that the House will not be asked to reverse the decision of one of its Select Committees rejecting the proposal for a reservoir at Swincombe on Dartmoor?

Mr. Walker

I have no power to give such an assurance, because if a Bill came before Parliament with any such proposal it would be up to Parliament to decide.