River Avon (Water Extraction)

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 17th October 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Robert Key Robert Key Conservative, Salisbury 11:30 am, 17th October 2002

What agreement she has reached on water abstraction from the upper reaches of the Hampshire Avon; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

In June this year the Environment Agency, English Nature, the Office of Water Services and Wessex Water agreed a programme of measures that will reduce abstractions in three areas, including the upper reaches of the Hampshire Avon.

Photo of Robert Key Robert Key Conservative, Salisbury

I am grateful to the Minister, his officials and all the agencies involved for coming up with a compromise solution. However, does he agree that it is not the long-term answer? The problem is replicated around the country. The simple answer is that we are all wasting far too much water. We are transporting it, abstracting it and throwing it away. Will he do all he can to ensure a public education programme to stop wasting water?

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I can give the hon. Gentleman a bit more reassurance than that. He will probably be aware that it is our intention to introduce a new water Bill that will focus very much on abstraction control and statutory requirements to ensure that water is not wasted and is used properly. I am sure that he will welcome those measures and I look forward to his support when we introduce the Bill.