Sewers and Drains

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th April 2005.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's proposals to transfer ownership of private sewers and lateral drains from property owners to local water companies.

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

The Government published a response to their consultation—Review of Existing Private Sewers and Drains in England and Wales—in October 2004. 81 per cent. of respondents favoured a change of ownership, and of these, 90 per cent. held the view that sewerage undertakers should take over responsibility. The Government acknowledged the strength of support for this solution and undertook to look into it in more depth.

My Department also recently held a seminar with stakeholders to look at sustainable options for a potential transfer. Further information on the seminar is available on the Department's website at:


The Government intend to publish a decision paper this summer, but do not rule out the need to consult further on the scope and form of a potential transfer.

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