§ Mr. Grimond
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if in view of the fact that the situation of islands is quite different from that of the mainland of Scoltand and that the counties of Orkney and Shetland should be excluded from the proposals of the amalgamation of the water authorities, he will so exclude them;
(2) whether it is intended that water supplies in the islands of Orkney and Shetland which are separated by considerable miles of rough sea are to be connected under the new water proposals;
(3) whether, since there is going to be no technical advantage in amalgamating the water authorities of Orkney and Shetland with each other or with the mainland, there are administrative advantages; and what they will be;
(4) what increase in the cost of local administration is expected through the amalgamation of the water supplies of Orkney and Shetland with each other and with the mainland; and what the effect is likely to be on the water rate.
§ Mr. Ross
The Water (Scotland) Bill provides for the transfer of functions of the local water authorities in the Counties of Orkney, Shetland, Caithness and Sutherland to a regional water board. There is no question of physical connections between water systems on widely-separated islands, but the new board will provide stronger financial, technical and operational resources to meet the demands on the water services throughout the region. As it will take over the functions of five separate local water authorities in Orkney and Shetland I would expect some economies in local administrative expenditure, and there will be a general levelling out of domestic water rates on the islands, which at present range between 8d. in Stromness and 3s. 9d. in the landward area of Shetland.91W
§ Mr. Grimond
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) when the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland may expect a reply to his letters of 27th December, 1966, and 12th January, 1967, about the proposals to amalgamate the water authorities in the north of Scotland;
(2) what answer has been sent to the representations of the Orkney County Council concerning the proposals for the amalgamation of water supplies in the north of Scotland.