Mr. Andy Stewart
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will approve the scheme of charges in respect of discharge consents proposed by the National Rivers Authority in March under the Water Act 1989.
§ Mr. Baldry
Following public consultation my right hon. Friend has today approved the NRA's proposed charging scheme for implementation from 1 July, subject to a number of modifications mainly aimed at making the scheme's provisions clearer. A copy of the modified scheme has been deposited in the Library. We shall keep the operation of the scheme under careful review throughout its three-year period of validity.
The scheme represents an important element of the Government's wider commitment to implement the "polluter pays" principle. It will ensure that the NRA's costs incurred in authorising and monitoring direct discharges of effluent to water are borne by dischargers themselves. By recouping the costs in this way it will save the general taxpayer some £41 million in a full year via a reduced need for grant in aid to the NRA.