§ Lord Bellwin
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What conclusions they have reached on the comments made in response to the consultation paper on water and sewerage law published by his department and the Welsh Office in March 1986.
The Earl of Caithness
We received many positive and constructive responses to our consultation paper. As a result we have in some cases modified or discarded our original proposals.
We have, in particular, decided not to proceed with the proposals for transferring to undertakers responsibility for private sewers and water supply pipes. We recognise the problems faced by some householders, particularly those whose sewers are not adopted. These are, however, responsibilities which go with the properties concerned and purchasers of property need to take them into account just as they do other maintenance obligations. To transfer responsibility to undertakers would mean customers in general having to meet the cost. The existing legislation permits the owners of private sewers to apply to the relevant water authority to have their sewer adopted and there is a right of appeal to the Secretary of State if the authority refuses. This is an important safeguard which we intend to preserve.
I am placing a summary of our revised proposals in the Libraries of both Houses. We believe the changes we propose will provide a modern operational framework which will serve the water industry well in the years ahead. Provision to implement these changes will be made in the main water privatisation Bill.