HC Deb 15 February 1995 vol 254 c1000
23. Mr. George Howarth

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are his latest estimates of water leakage.

Mr. Atkins

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer that I gave earlier.

Mr. Howarth

I did not have the benefit of hearing the Minister's answer on that occasion, but having heard similar answers on many other occasions, I am sure that it was up to his usual inadequate standard. Is not the important point that a great deal of water could be conserved if the Government, in conjunction with the water companies, embarked on an active campaign to stop the leaks and conserve water?

Mr. Atkins

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman could not be here earlier; I am sure that he had a good reason for that. What I said to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mrs. Jackson), which I reiterate, is that much of the wastage is from the domestic, rather than the company, source. Companies are already spending a large sum dealing with the problem.

However, generally speaking, the hon. Gentleman's point is right. That is why I was associated with the Water Services Association launch of a detailed technical document dealing with the problems of leakage. I shall be delighted to ask the association to send the hon. Gentleman a copy, which will make good reading for him.

Mr. Fabricant

I want to take up the point about water wastage at domestic level. My hon. Friend will he aware that Armitage Shanks is based in my constituency. Will he resist the growing pressure in Europe for the European method of flushing toilets, which causes a great deal of water leakage, to be adopted in Britain? Our system uses a vacuum siphon method, which prevents water leakage.

Mr. Atkins

I shall do my best to prevent a chain reaction.

Madam Speaker

Order. On that note we shall move to the private notice question.