HC Deb 30 June 1971 vol 820 cc126-7W
Mr. Peter Mills

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) in view of the water shortage in North Devon, what steps can be taken to speed up the work of building Meldon Dam;

(2) in view of the probable water shortage in North Devon in 1972, when partial filling of Meldon Dam can take place;

(3) what steps he will take to ensure that no bridle path will hinder the partial filling of Meldon Dam;

(4) if he will encourage the water authorities to make a clearly defined and signposted alternative bridle path at Meldon Dam so that partial filling may commence.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

The North Devon Water Board is responsible for the construction of Meldon Dam and it is for it to decide whether it can be speeded up, and when, after the engineer appointed by the board in accordance with the requirements of the Reservoirs (Safety Provisions) Act, 1930, has given his preliminary certificate, filling of the reservoir should begin.

If it wishes to begin filling before a new bridle way along the crest of the dam is open for public use, it will require an order amending the North Devon (Meldon Reservoir) Water Order, 1966. The existence of a temporary alternative could well be relevant to any application which it might make. People who would be affected by an application will have a right of objection, and I cannot prejudge the outcome; but I understand that the board is considering the measures suggested by my hon. Friend.