HC Deb 06 July 1983 vol 45 cc270-1
8. Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to meet the chairman of the Thames water authority to discuss the flows of water along the river Thames.

Mr. Waldegrave

My right hon. Friend has no plan to do so.

Mr. Jessel

The Thames water authority says that it intends to apply for complete powers to cut to nothing the flow of water over Teddington weir. Apparently it wishes to have that power without having to obtain Government consent when there is a strike or a drought. What action does my hon. Friend intend to take to protect the environment of the river Thames, wildlife and boating interests? Will he refuse to relinquish the power of control that his Department now has?

Mr. Waldegrave

Any proposal for a change in the powers to which my hon. Friend has referred will be subject to existing procedures. If there were objections, these would include a public inquiry. That would be the position if the proposal involved a general power or a certain variation.

Sir Bernard Braine

Is my hon. Friend aware that the River Thames Society, of which I am president, wholeheartedly supports my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel)? We are strongly opposed to the Thames water authority being given additional powers to abstract water from the Thames, which serves a wide area. Cannot the authority be encouraged to invest in further reservoir capacity, which it should have done a long time ago?

Mr. Waldegrave

My hon. Friend will understand that I cannot comment at this stage on the merits of the case as there is the possibility of such a proposal coming before a public inquiry.