Dams and Reservoirs (Design)

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th March 1973.

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Photo of Mr Peter Trew Mr Peter Trew , Dartford 12:00 am, 7th March 1973

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has had about the adequacy of the regulations concerning the design of dams and reservoirs; and what action his Department is taking as a result.

Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby

The Institution of Civil Engineers has proposed amendments to the certificates and forms prescribed by regulations made under the Reservoir Safety Provisions Act 1930. These proposals will be discussed at a meeting later this month between the institution and the Department.

Photo of Mr Peter Trew Mr Peter Trew , Dartford

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is he satisfied with the general level of third party insurance against dam disasters? If not, will he bring forward legislation to provide for this?

Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby

That is a matter for the owners of the reservoirs. There is no power to make regulations in that connection at present; as my hon. Friend said, it would need legislation. On the reorganisation of water services, the resources of the regional water authorities should remove any anxiety about the capability of meeting any claim for damages.

Photo of Mr Robert Brown Mr Robert Brown , Newcastle upon Tyne West

Is the Minister aware that the people of the North are more interested in getting the Kielder Dam proceeded with than in its design, and that unless his complacent right hon. and learned Friend makes a speedy decision he will go down in history in the North as the Minister who murdered the industrial future of the north-east of England?

Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby

That is rubbish. There is no complacency about the matter at all. The question has already been answered.