HC Deb 23 July 1991 vol 195 cc1106-7

Order for Second Reading read.

7.56 pm
The Solicitor-General (Sir Nicholas Lyell)

I beg to move, that the Bill be now read a Second time.

As five Bills relating to water consolidation are before the House this evening, I shall, with permission, speak to all five together, as they form part of the one consolidation.

The Water Act 1989 substantially restructured the water legislation of England and Wales. Functions previously vested in the water authorities were divided between a new national body known as the National Rivers Authority, and the companies appointed as the new water and sewerage undertakers.

The two main Bills in the consolidation are the Water Industry Bill and the Water Resources Bill. They bring together the principal legislation from the 1989 Act and elsewhere, dealing with the new undertakers and the National Rivers Authority respectively.

The third Bill, the Statutory Water Companies Bill, consolidates the provisions in the 1989 Act that deal with the corporate structure and powers of the statutory water companies. The fourth Bill, the Land Drainage Bill, reproduces the functions of the internal drainage boards and local authorities. The fifth Bill, the Water Consolidation (Consequential Provisions) Bill is ancillary to the four main Bills. It covers consequential amendments and repeals relating to the other four.

In preparing the consolidation, the Law Commission issued a report in which it made a number of recommendations for minor technical amendments to improve the consolidation. All five Bills were referred in the usual way to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills during their passage in another place. The Joint Committee reported that the recommendations of the Law Commission were necessary to produce a satisfactory consolidation of the law, and that the five Bills, taken together, amounted to a single consolidation.

7.58 pm
Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)

We are always supporting consolidation measures, which make life easier for those who must deal with legislation. As usual, we congratulate those responsible for the consolidation and the drafting, and the Law Commission. I am sorry that there was a slight hiccup last week, when we could not get the Bills through in a reasonably short time.

Opposition Members will always be co-operative on measures of law reform and consolidation, and we praise the Law Commission's work. I understand, however, that there is a considerable backlog of law reform and consolidation Bills, and I only hope that things will move rather more quickly. To ensure that they do, I shall say no more today.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House. —[Mr. Greg Knight]

Bill immediately considered in Committee; reported, without amendment.

Motion made, and Question, That the Bill be now read the Third time, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 75 (Third Reading), and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, without amendment.

  1. WATER RESOURCES BILL [Lords] 60 words
  2. c1107
  4. c1107
  5. LAND DRAINAGE BILL [Lords] 59 words
  6. c1107