§ Q11. Mr. Hooson
asked the Prime Minister whether the Secretary of State for Wales or the Minister of Land and Natural Resources is responsible for water resources in Wales.
§ The Prime Minister
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Land and Natural Resources will be responsible for research into the possibilities of conserving and augmenting national water resources. He will accordingly take over the functions of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government in relation to the Water Resources Board, including the appointment of members and financial responsibility.
He will take a leading part in any major projects, such as those for estuarial barrages, which involve the co-ordination of a variety of different interests in a particular river and with which a number of different Departments are concerned.
He will also be responsible for the plans for re-organising the water supply industry under full public ownership which were envisaged in the Labour Party Manifesto.
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government will 38W continue to exercise, in England, his statutory functions relating to water supply and river management, so that, in particular, he will have executive responsibility for questions of water distribution, minimum acceptable flow in rivers, abstractions, river pollution and sewerage. In Wales, these functions will be exercised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government will share with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales his existing statutory responsibilities in relation to the appointment and functioning of river authorities; and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Land and Natural Resources will also be one of the Ministers who appoint those members of river authorities who are "qualified in respect of public water supply".
Appropriate arrangements will be made between the three Ministers about future Ministerial appointments to the three river authorities concerned with catchment areas in both England and Wales; and these river authorities will look to London or Cardiff, as the case may be, according to the nature of the problem and where it mainly lies.
The provisions of the Water Resources Act, 1963, are not yet fully in effect. The position will be kept under review to see whether experience in implementing these provisions calls for any changes in the arrangements I have outlined.
There is no change in the position in Scotland.