Oral Answers to Questions — Water Conservation and Supply (Ministerial Responsibilities)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd December 1969.

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Photo of Mr Gwynfor Evans Mr Gwynfor Evans , Carmarthen 12:00 am, 2nd December 1969

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination of responsibilities between the Secretary of State for Wales and the Minister of Housing and Local Government in the conservation and supply of water originating in Wales and used in major centres of population of England: and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to a Question by him on 22nd July.—[Vol. 787, c. 354.]

Photo of Mr Gwynfor Evans Mr Gwynfor Evans , Carmarthen

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, although he and his Government may be satisfied by the situation, the Welsh people are dissatisfied and are angered by the apparently endless series of threats to land and water resources in Wales? Is he aware that this situation exists because he has not yet fulfilled his election promise about the Welsh Water Board? Does he intend to keep his word?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

There are always problems of this kind when natural water boundaries do not coincide with political and administrative boundaries. I am sure the hon. Gentleman would want to agree with the view of the Council of Europe in its European Water Charter that we should follow natural basins rather than administrative boundaries. The biggest threat to water supplies in Wales is from those who have been blowing them up.

Photo of Mr Roy Hughes Mr Roy Hughes , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied with the co-ordination between these two Departments? Would he bear in mind that at the moment the Welsh Office is being pressed into accepting English recommendations on the reform of local government in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, and in the process being forced to abrogate its own carefully considered proposals?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

My hon. Friend is wrong here. I mentioned in the debate on the Gracious Speech what my right hon. Friend is doing in the matter of consultations with local authorities. He is not borrowing anything from England at all; he is trying to get what is the best solution for that particular area in Wales. This Question relates to water, and, as my hon. Friend will know, as a result of what we said we would do the Water Resources Board has had a special Welsh Committee since 1965. This was strengthened in February of this year by the appointment of five more Welsh members, three of them representing Welsh farming interests.