HC Deb 07 February 1979 vol 962 c387
16. Sir John Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the cost to local authorities in repairs as a result of burst water pipes during the new year cold spell; and if he is satisfied that current building regulations ensure adequate means of turning off and draining water from empty dwellings.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

The cost of repairs to local authority premises is a matter for the local authorities concerned and I have no estimate. Water installations used in connection with the public water supply are covered by local water byelaws. These require premises to be fitted with drain taps to prevent frost damage and require occupiers to turn off the supply and drain the fittings where practicable before vacating the premises.

Sir J. Gilmour

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, from reports of what happened in some of our cities during the cold spell, that is not happening? With knowledge of what happens in Canada from relations living there, may I ask whether it is not true that other countries provide much better facilities than we do for preventing frost damage in dwellings? Therefore, is it not high time that we altered our regulations to save this waste of money?

Mr. Brown

No. I think that we all appreciate the unusual circumstances with which various authorities were confronted during the recent cold spell. But the byelaws and building regulations are adequate. There may be a lack of education on the part of private owners or councils, but the facilities are there. They are required to be there. Perhaps people should make better use of them.

Sir. J. Gilmour

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg leave to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.