HL Deb 16 February 1982 vol 427 c553WA
Lord Melchett

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their best estimate, or if they have none, what estimates have been made by public bodies, of the total costs, including all training supervision, labour, materials and all other capital costs, at 1980 prices, of completely repairing or where necessary replacing the sewerage system in Great Britain, how many years it is estimated such a programme might take to complete, and how many jobs (in terms of full-time jobs per year) would be created while this work was being done.

The Earl of Avon

In 1977, the Standing Committee on Sewers and Water Mains estimated that it would cost in the region of £19,000 million to replace the existing public sewers in the United Kingdom. At 1980 prices the estimated cost would be about £36,000 million. The underground assets of the water authorities are normally assumed to last for 80 to 125 years, and, although more information is needed on the age and condition of sewers and water mains, it is not, of course, necessary to repair or replace them all at once. The Water Research Centre are at present undertaking surveys and these will give them a clearer picture of what will be required to be done and the rate of progress necessary. I am afraid that it is not possible to foresee what will be the consequences for employment.