HC Deb 21 November 1977 vol 939 cc521-2W
Mr. Ron Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what representations he has received, and from whom, regarding increases in water charges in Cumbria arising from the Water Equalisation Act; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will give details of the amount each local authority will now have to contribute over and above that already being paid arising from the Water Equalisation Act.

Mr. Denis Howell

The Water Charges Equalisation Act 1977 provides that my right hon. Friend may direct any of the 10 regional water authorities and 28 water companies to which the Act applies to pay an equalisation levy to the National Water Council and shall direct the Council to pay over the aggregate of these levies to such statutory water undertakers as may be specified. The levies and payments proposed for 1978–79 have been calculated after consultation with the water industry in accordance with the Act and details are contained in the draft Water Charges Equalisation Order 1977 laid before the House on 14th November.

Friend has no plans at present to make an order.

Mr. Michael Latham

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether any local authorities have yet sent him, as required by paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 8 to the Community Land Act 1975, copies of resolutions declaring disposal notification areas; if so, which were the authorities concerned; what are the names of the areas contained in those resolutions; and from what date or dates the resolutions become operative.

Mr. Guy Barnett

Yes. Details are given in the following table:

The Act provides that any levy or payment shall be passed on in full in the form of increased or reduced charges to those consumers supplied with water on an unmeasured basis. Local authorities would only be affected in so far as they may be such consumers; the effect will vary from area to area and individual details are not available.

No specific representations have been received about increases in water charges in Cumbria resulting from the proposed levies but the North-West Water Authority has made representations about the effect of equalisation on their region generally.