10. Mr. Wells
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his best estimate of the numbers of dwellings connected to no sewerage system at all, to septic tanks and to cesspit type systems, respectively.
§ The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Mr. Denis Howell):
The water authorities estimate that about 900,000 domestic properties in England and Wales are not connected to main sewers. I have no information about what alternative systems these properties might have.
Is the Minister aware that these unconnected properties cause a general health hazard to the entire population and that, therefore, the emptying and related services that are provided by councils ought to be borne equally on the rates as a service to the whole community, that individual householders should not be penalised and, furthermore, that the anomalies between one local authority and another should be ironed out?
§ Mr. Howell
I doubt very much whether there are many properties that are not connected up to sewers, cesspits or septic tanks. The purpose of the Housing Act 1974 was, indeed, to offer grants for that purpose for houses that were not connected. If there is any 411 danger to public health, clearly that involves a duty for the local health authority to discharge.