§ Mr. Hendry
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has for the future organisation of the watercourse management division of the Department of Agriculture. 
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
Having recently completed the prior options study which was announced to Parliament on 20 July 1994,Official Report, columns 341–42, the Government have decided that the watercourse management division should become a next steps agency from 1 October 1996.
The division is responsible for the provision of flood defence and river drainage systems and for promoting the sustainable development of inland navigation and water recreation facilities.
Making the watercourse management division a next steps agency will give it the flexibility to operate within a framework of appropriate efficiency targets and performance indicators, while remaining a part of the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland.