HL Deb 27 March 2002 vol 633 cc70-1WA
Baroness Turner of Camden

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action is being taken to deal with the problem of private sewers. [HL3113]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty)

We announced this morning that agreement has been reached with the House Builders Federation and the water industry that all new sewers will be built to one agreed standard. We now have in place a protocol which sets out the key elements of design and construction for new development to enable wider adoption of sewers. As a result, owners of new property will not have the kind of problems experienced by those with existing private sewers. Copies of the protocol and the report on the outcome of the consultation undertaken by the department into new sewers and drains have been placed in the Library. They are also on the department's website.

I am equally keen that we should assist owners of existing private sewers. We have therefore appointed outside consultants to undertake research to establish the extent of the private sewer network, identify and examine the problems associated with private sewers and produce workable solutions. The research began in December and is due to last 18 months.