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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has for a variable charge for household waste; and what recent discussions he has had with the Local Government Association on this issue. 
The Secretary of State invited the Local Government Association (LGA) and local authorities to share their views on household waste charging when he addressed the LGA conference earlier this month. Neither I nor the Secretary of State have had further discussions on the issue with the LGA.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the amount of residue from (a)
anti-depressant and (b) other drugs in waste water which has passed through sewage treatment plants. 
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers Ofwat has to take action against overcharging of water customers; and what steps he plans to take in this area. 
Ian Pearson: Ofwat reviews and sets overall price limits, which balance the need for individual water and sewerage companies to carry out their functions with customer interests. In December 2004, Ofwat set price limits for each company for the period 2005-10.
Companies are responsible for deciding individual charging schemes, but these must be approved by Ofwat every year. Detailed information on this is published in the Water and sewerage charges report: http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/aptrix/ofwat/publish.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/tariff_report06.pdf/$FILE/tariff report06.pdf.
The established principle is that charges should broadly reflect the cost of the service provided. If necessary, Ofwat can take regulatory action to ensure that customers do not pay for services that have not been delivered.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will amend the building regulations to take account of the lower water infrastructure connection charges for new properties meeting high water efficiency standards; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: This summer, the Government will consult on proposals to revise regulations to secure improved water efficiency in new housing, following the Sustainable Buildings Task Group recommendations.
Within the Water Saving Group, Ofwat is looking at developing incentives to improve the promotion of water efficiency by water companies. Specifically, Ofwat is investigating infrastructure charges and the possibility
of water companies offering housing developers incentives, in terms of reduced infrastructure charges, to install water efficient devices in new buildings. Ofwat is in the process of convening a small group of water companies and housing developers to discuss and assess the issues surrounding such incentives and the possible use of differential infrastructure charges.
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) percentage and (b) volume of clean water was lost through leaks in public pipes in Guildford in each of the last five years; what cost was incurred due to the loss of water; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: Thames Water provides the water supply for the majority of consumers in Guildford, with some consumers being supplied by Three Valleys Water. Ofwat collects information on leakage on the basis of company supply area only. Specific figures relating to percentage, volume and cost of leakage in Guildford are not available. Water company leakage performance is published annually by Ofwat in the Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water reports.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average monthly cost to consumers was of (a) water services and (b) sewerage services in each water supply area in 2005-06; and what the average monthly cost was to (i) metered and (ii) unmetered customers. 
The following table sets out the average monthly cost of water and sewerage services in 2005-06, for metered and unmetered customers. Each figure is based on the annual average bill for the particular service. Individual bills can be more or less than the average. More information can be found in Ofwats Water and sewerage charges 2006-07 report, available on their website at:
|Water and sewerage companies|