§ Mr. William Edwards
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what changes he intends to make in the provisions for raising drainage charges in the Gwynedd river authority area; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peart
Yes. Following discussions with the Association of River Authorities, the National Farmers' Union, and the Country Landowners' Association I propose, with their agreement, to make the following changes:
- (i) to change the basis of assessment for drainage charges from Schedule A to acreage of crops and grass;
- (ii) to make the general drainage charge more closely equivalent than at present to the contribution which the general ratepayer makes to the river authority through the precept on county and county borough councils;
- (iii) to replace the present joint maximum for the general and special drainage charges by a maximum for the special charge only of 2s. per acre.
These changes would apply to any river authority which levies these charges and would lead to a substantial reduction in the amount of the general drainage charge in the Gwynedd area.
The necessary legislation will be introduced in due course.