Commons Amendment

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:45 pm on 13th November 2003.

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Photo of Lord Whitty Lord Whitty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Food, Farming and Sustainable Energy) 7:45 pm, 13th November 2003

My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady O'Cathain, raised a number of points which go beyond the terms of the alternative amendments. Clearly, there is a serious situation in the South East. We recognised that in this House and during the course of this Bill. The water resource plans, parts of which are reflected in the Bill, are aimed at ensuring that long-term planning of water supply meets the demand. The restrictions on abstraction, the powers given to water companies, the requirements on them to have drought plans, and their powers of persuasion and ability to impose, for instance, hose-pipe bans all go together to mitigate the potential water shortages in areas such as the South East. Water companies can also require the metering of new developments, which also helps the situation.

I am not trying to belittle the problems in the South East, but there are a number of different measures—