HL Deb 28 April 1981 vol 419 cc1161-2

5 Clause 16, page 15, line 43, leave out from ("inhibiting") to end of line 44, and insert ("the use of water as a source of energy;".").

Lord Skelmersdale

My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 5. This is a relatively small amendment to Clause 16. Clause 16 deals with the question of charges for the use of water for power generation. That is it in the Bill at all is, of course, a tribute to the praiseworthy eloquence of my noble friend Lord Strathcona, supported, I understand—I do not think I was here on that occasion—by the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, and others, who first raised this important subject during the Committee stage of the Bill in this House.

This amendment was introduced because it was argued by representatives of the water power users that the previous wording of the clause might have carried the implication that any use of water as a source of energy was necessarily an abstraction within the meaning of the Water Resources Act 1963. The point here is that if a hydro-power user is "abstracting" water he has to obtain a licence from the water authority and pay charges. But if he is not abstracting water he does not need a licence and does not need to pay charges. The amendment was, as I say, strongly supported by representatives of the water power users and the Government were content to accept it. I hope your Lordships will therefore agree with the amendment.

Moved, That the House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendment.—(Lord Skelmersdale.)

Lord Strabolgi

My Lords, the noble Lord has given an account of what happened during the time the Bill was before this House. The noble Earl, Lord Gowrie, did move a Government amendment on Third Reading which we felt—and I said so at the time—was something, but did not go far enough. I ventured to express the hope then that the amendment would be further improved when the Bill came before another place. This has now happened, and I certainly welcome the amendment made by the other place which the noble Lord has put before the House today.

On Question, Motion agreed to.