HL Deb 27 February 1985 vol 460 cc1009-10WA
Lord Howie of Troon

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements are in hand to implement the Reservoirs Act 1975.

Lord Skelmersdale

The Reservoirs Act 1975 is being implemented in stages. Under stage one, essential enabling regulations and regulations covering the appointment of new panels of engineers to carry out the various functions prescribed for qualified civil engineers under the Act came into force throughout England, Wales and Scotland on 8th November 1983, and 20th December 1984, respectively.

Under stage two, further regulations were made on 13th February bringing into effect on 1st April 1985 everywhere in England, Wales and Scotland, except in Greater London and English metropolitan counties, those provisions in the 1975 Act:

  1. (i) transferring responsibility for reservior safety from the district councils to the upper tier;
  2. (ii) providing for local authorities to set up registers of reservoirs; take action in the event of an emergency; make reports to the Secretary of State about steps taken to ensure compliance with the Act; and requiring reservoir undertakers to provide further information about and to carry out more regular monitoring of their reservoirs;
  3. (iii) providing for non-compliance with the Act to be a criminal offence.

To enable local authorities to establish the local registers, reservoir undertakers are required to provide authorities by 1st January 1986 with information about their reservoirs. Local authorities must take steps to inform undertakers of this requirement by 1st July 1985.

The remaining provisions of the Act mainly relating to supervision of a reservoir operations by qualified civil engineers will be implemented later in the third and final stage. The date at present proposed is 1st April 1986.

Implementation in Greater London and English metropolitan counties will follow Parliament's decision on the future of local government in those areas. The Local Government Bill now before Parliament provides for the transfer to the London borough and metropolitan district councils of the functions which the Greater London Council and metropolitan county councils would have assumed under the Reservoirs Act 1975. The intention is that the stage two provisions referred to above will be brought into effect in these areas on 1st April 1986 and the third stage provisions on 1st April 1987.

Those local authorities specified in the Reservoirs (Safety Provisions) Act 1930 can continue to use the powers available in that Act until it is repealed. The present intention is to repeal it in all areas except the metropolitan areas in England on 1st April 1986, and in those areas on 1st April 1987.