Clause 91 - Trade effluent consents:

Water Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:22 am on 21 October 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Amendment proposed: No. 262, in

clause 91, page 106, line 20, leave out paragraph (b) and insert—

'(b) in subsection (6), at the end there is inserted ''and ''controlled waters'' has the meaning given by section 104 of the Water Resources Act 1991''.'.—[Mr. Morley.]

Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

This part of the Bill refers to the Water Resources Act 1991. I have looked in that Act for the definition of ''controlled waters'', and the part to which I shall refer does not contain such a definition—that is quite confusing. I should be grateful if the Minister would point me in the right direction. There are definitions of fresh-water limit, miles, lakes or ponds, relevant lakes or ponds and just about every other definition that you could care for, except for ''controlled waters''. Could he give us a definition and an example?

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Minister of State (Environment and Agri-Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Yes, I can. The clause has more to do with tidying up section 121 of the Water Industry Act 1991, which deals with conditions of trade effluent consents. Section 121(6) contains the meanings of ''harbour'' and ''tidal water'', as set out in the Merchant Shipping Act 1894. We also propose to

include a provision in the subsection referring to the meaning of ''controlled waters'' given by section 104 of the Water Resources Act 1991. That will consolidate all the meanings in one subsection—it is as simple as that. It does not change or do anything; it just makes things much tidier. Section 104(1), as mentioned by the hon. Member for Leominster, deals with controlled waters. It is a tidying-up amendment.

Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The Minister did a valiant job there, and I could see messages passing backwards and forwards. I was pressing him for an example and I have not had one yet, but I hope that some scribbling is taking place and perhaps something will be produced. As I understand it, this has to do with the various parts of the sea. I think that is what the Minister means; I should be grateful for his confirmation of that. I do not seek to delay him or to confuse the Committee, but it is not clear—from what I have seen—what he meant.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Minister of State (Environment and Agri-Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The hon. Gentleman is right that the definitions are in the Merchant Shipping Act 1894—I am sure that I can get those definitions for him. I understand that the definition of ''controlled waters'' is in section 104 of the Water Resources Act 1991. That is: all surface waters and coastal waters. I hope that that answers the hon. Gentleman's points.

Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I do not wish to pursue the matter further. I have asked the right question; I am not sure that I have had the right answer. However, we are getting somewhere. It sounds like a catch-all definition of controlled waters, and I am not sure that that is what the Government intended, but unless I am intervened on, I shall stop now. It would have been helpful to have a better definition. I accept that section 104 is unclear and needs to be tidied up. I suspect that the Government mean well in connection with the clause.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 91, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 92 to 95 ordered to stand part of the Bill.