HC Deb 19 December 1989 vol 164 cc129-30W
Mrs. Ann Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what will be the division of responsibility for controlling water pollution between Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and the National Rivers Authority.

Mr. Howard

Currently the National Rivers Authority has responsibility for controlling water pollution under powers in the Water Act 1989, although additional controls are exercised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, advised by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, to limit inputs of certain dangerous substances to sewers.

Under our proposals for integrated pollution control wastes released to all environmental media from certain industrial processes would be controlled by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. The National Rivers Authority would, however, have powers to ensure that these controls were exercised so as to protect the aquatic environment. The authority would continue to have primary responsibility for discharges to water from all other sources.

These arrangements were announced by my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey, South-West (Mrs. Bottomley) on 28 February following extensive consultation. They will be introduced through the Environmental Protection Bill which we shall shortly be introducing. They will entail close co-operation between the two regulatory bodies, and a memorandum of understanding will be drawn up to cover the detailed interface of their respective responsibilities.