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COMMONS AMENDMENTS
276Schedule 18, page 236, line 33, at end insert:
'. After section 93 of that Act (interpretation of Part III) there shall be inserted—

"PART IIIA
PROMOTION OF THE EFFICIENT USE OF WATER
Duty to promote the efficient use of water.

93A.—(1) It shall be the duty of every water undertaker to promote the efficient use of water by its customers.
(2) The duty of a water undertaker under this section shall be enforceable under section 18 above—

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(a) by the Secretary of State; or
(b) with the consent of or in accordance with a general authorisation given by the Secretary of State, by the Director.
(3) Nothing in this Part shall have effect to authorise or require a water undertaker to impose any requirement on any of its customers or potential customers.
Power of Director to impose requirements on water undertakers.

93B.—(1) The Director may require a water undertaker, in its performance of its duty under section 93A above, to—
(a) take any such action; or
(b) achieve any such overall standards of performance,
as he may specify in the document imposing the requirement.
(2) Where the Director, in the document imposing a requirement on a water undertaker under subsection (1) above, stipulates that any contravention of the requirement by the undertaker will be a breach of its duty under section 93A above, any contravention of that requirement by the undertaker shall be a breach of that duty.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above, a requirement under that subsection may—
(a) require a water undertaker to make available to its customers or potential customers such facilities as may be specified in the document imposing the requirement;
(b) require a water undertaker to provide or make available to its customers or potential customers such information as may be specified in the document imposing the requirement, and may specify the form in which, the times at which or the frequency with which any such information is to be provided or made available.
(4) In exercising his powers under this section in relation to any water undertaker the Director shall have regard to the extent to which water resources are available to that undertaker.
(5) Before imposing any requirement on a water undertaker under subsection (1) above the Director shall consult that undertaker.
(6) Nothing in this section authorises the Director to impose any requirement on a water undertaker which has or may have the effect of authorising or requiring that undertaker to impose any requirement on any of its customers or potential customers.
Publicity of requirements imposed under section 93B.

93C.—(1) Where, under section 93B(1) above, the Director imposes any requirement on a water undertaker, the Director may arrange for that requirement to be publicised in any such manner as he may consider appropriate for the purpose of bringing it to the attention of that undertaker's customers.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above, the Director may arrange for such publicising of the requirement as is mentioned in that subsection by—
(a) himself publicising the requirement or causing it to be publicised; or
(b) directing the undertaker to inform or arrange to inform its customers of the requirement.
Information as to compliance with requirements under section 93B.

93D.—(1) Where a water undertaker is subject to any requirement imposed under section 93B(1) above, the Director may arrange for there to be given to the customers of that undertaker at any such times or with such frequency, and in any such manner, as he may consider appropriate,

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such information about the level of performance achieved by the undertaker in relation to that requirement as appears to the Director to be expedient to be given to those customers.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above, the Director may arrange for such giving of information as is mentioned in that subsection by—
(a) himself disseminating the information or causing it to be disseminated; or
(b) directing the undertaker to give or arrange to give the information to its customers.
(3) At such times and in such form or manner as the Director may direct, a water undertaker shall provide the Director with such information as may be specified in the direction in connection with the undertaker's performance in relation to any requirement imposed upon the undertaker under section 93B(1) above.
(4) A water undertaker who fails without reasonable excuse to do anything required of him by virtue of subsection (3) above shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.".
. After section 101 of that Act (which provides for the determination of certain details in relation to requisitioned sewers) there shall be inserted—
"Provision of public sewers otherwise than by requisition
Further duty to provide sewers.

101A.—(1) Without prejudice to section 98 above, it shall be the duty of a sewerage undertaker to provide a public sewer to be used for the drainage for domestic sewerage purposes of premises in a particular locality in its area if the conditions specified in subsection (2) below are satisfied.
(2) The conditions mentioned in subsection (1) above are—
(a) that the premises in question, or any of those premises, are premises on which there are buildings each of which, with the exception of any shed, glasshouse or other outbuilding appurtenant to a dwelling and not designed or occupied as living accommodation, is a building erected before, or whose erection was substantially completed by, 20th June 1995;
(b) that the drains or sewers used for the drainage for domestic sewerage purposes of the premises in question do not, either directly or through an intermediate drain or sewer, connect with a public sewer; and
(c) that the drainage of any of the premises in question in respect of which the condition specified in paragraph (a) above is satisfied is giving, or is likely to give, rise to such adverse effects to the environment or amenity that it is appropriate, having regard to any guidance issued under this section by the Secretary of State and all other relevant considerations, to provide a public sewer for the drainage for domestic sewerage purposes of the premises in question.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2) (c) above, regard shall be had to the following considerations, so far as relevant, in determining whether it is appropriate for any sewer to be provided by virtue of this section—
(a) the geology of the locality in question or of any other locality;
(b) the number of premises, being premises on which there are buildings, which might reasonably be expected to be drained by means of that sewer;
(c) the costs of providing that sewer;

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(d) the nature and extent of any adverse effects to the environment or amenity arising, or likely to arise, as a result of the premises or, as the case may be, the locality in question not being drained by means of a public sewer; and
(e) the extent to which it is practicable for those effects to be overcome otherwise than by the provision (whether by virtue of this section or otherwise) of public sewers, and the costs of so overcoming those effects.
(4) Guidance issued by the Secretary of State under this section may—
(a) relate to how regard is to be had to the considerations mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (e) of subsection (3) above;
(b) relate to any other matter which the Secretary of State considers may be a relevant consideration in any case and to how regard is to be had to any such matter;
(c) set out considerations, other than those mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (e) of subsection (3) above, to which (so far as relevant) regard shall be had in determining whether it is appropriate for any sewer to be provided by virtue of this section;
(d) relate to how regard is to be had to any such consideration as is mentioned in paragraph (c) above;
(e) without prejudice to paragraphs (a) to (d) above, relate to how a sewerage undertaker is to discharge its functions under this section.
(5) Before issuing guidance under this section the Secretary of State shall consult—
(a) the Environment Agency;
(b) the Director; and
(c) such other bodies or persons as he considers appropriate;
and the Secretary of State shall arrange for any guidance issued by him under this section to be published in such manner as he considers appropriate.
(6) Subject to the following provisions of this section, the duty of a sewerage undertaker by virtue of subsection (1) above shall be enforceable under section 18 above—
(a) by the Secretary of State; or
(b) with the consent of or in accordance with a general authorisation given by the Secretary of State, by the Director.
(7) Any dispute between a sewerage undertaker and an owner or occupier of any premises in its area as to—
(a) whether the undertaker is under a duty by virtue of subsection (1) above to provide a public sewer to be used for any such drainage of those premises as is mentioned in that subsection;
(b) the domestic sewerage purposes for which any such sewer should be provided; or
(c) the time by which any such duty of the undertaker should be performed,
shall be determined by the Environment Agency, and may be referred to the Environment Agency for determination by either of the parties to the dispute.
(8) The Environment Agency—
(a) shall notify the parties of the reasons for its decision on any dispute referred to it under subsection (7) above; and
(b) may make any such recommendations, or give any such guidance, relating to or in connection with the drainage of the premises or locality in question as it considers appropriate.

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(9) The decision of the Environment Agency on any dispute referred to it under subsection (7) above shall be final.
(10) A sewerage undertaker shall only be taken to be in breach of its duty under subsection (1) above where, and to the extent that, it has accepted, or the Environment Agency has determined under this section, that it is under such a duty and where any time accepted by it, or determined by the Environment Agency under this section, as the time by which the duty is to that extent to be performed has passed.".'.
277Page 239, line 13, at end insert:
'.—(1) Section 142 of that Act (powers of undertakers to charge) shall be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this paragraph.
(2) In subsection (2) (manner in which charging powers to be exercised) for the words "subsection (3)" there shall be substituted the words "subsections (3) and (3A)".
(3) After subsection (3) (restriction on charging by agreement for trade effluent functions) there shall be inserted—
"(3A) The power of a sewerage undertaker to charge, by virtue of subsection (1) above, for any services provided in the course of carrying out its duty under section 101A(1) above shall be exercisable only by or in accordance with a charges scheme under section 143 below."
. In section 143 of that Act (charges schemes) after subsection (3) (charges which may be imposed in certain cases) there shall be inserted—
"(3A) A sewerage undertaker is under a duty to ensure that any charges scheme made by the undertaker, so far as having effect to recover the undertaker's costs of providing a sewer by virtue of its duty under section 101A(1) above, causes those costs to be borne by the undertaker's customers generally; and a sewerage undertaker's duty under this subsection shall be enforceable under section 18 above—
(a) by the Secretary of State; or
(b) with the consent of or in accordance with a general authorisation given by the Secretary of State, by the Director."
. Section 151 of that Act shall cease to have effect.'.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 276 and 277 en bloc. I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 279, 280, 317 and 328.

During our consideration of this Bill, a number of amendments were moved that would place a duty on water undertakers to promote the efficient use of water by their customers. My noble friend Lord Ullswater was sympathetic to this intention, and the Government undertook to consider such provisions during the passage of the Bill through Parliament.

The first part of Amendment No. 276 places a duty on water undertakers to promote the efficient use of water by their customers. Some water undertakers already consider this part of their customer care service; others could do more. The duty is backed up by a discretionary power for the Director General of Water Services to set standards of performance, where necessary, after taking account of the water resource situation in the undertaker's area and after consultation with the undertaker. The standards that the director general sets, and the undertaker's performance in meeting them will be made available to customers.

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We expect those standards to include the offering to customers of facilities, such as a low-cost voluntary metering scheme, and information on water use, which will enable them to make informed choices about how to use water efficiently. But there will be no compulsion on customers. The tone is one of encouragement. There is a dearth of information about the efficient use of water available to customers. Inefficient use of water will lead to requirements for new resources to be developed, the construction of new or expanded water treatment and waste water treatment plant and a consequent increase in customers' bills to pay for all that capital expenditure. I believe that the proposals here will help to inform customers and lead to a reduction in water use.

The second part of Amendment No. 276 will make easier the provision of first-time connection to mains sewerage of existing premises. It puts a new requirement on a sewerage undertaker to provide public sewers to be used for the drainage for domestic purposes of premises in any locality in its area where there are adverse effects to the environment or amenity arising from the existing system, and where this is the most cost-effective solution.

In the event of any dispute there is provision for a right to apply to the new Environment Agency to rule on whether there is a case for extending the mains sewerage network. These powers relate only to existing properties and do not cover future development. My department will issue guidance to the undertakers and the agency on the relevant issues to be taken into account in assessing the cost-effectiveness of the various solutions.

Amendment No. 279 is a technical amendment. In Committee my noble friend Lord Crickhowell moved an amendment very similar to Amendment No. 280 to enable the agency to issue drought permits under certain circumstances on application by water undertakers, which we agreed to consider. Amendment No. 280 allows the agency to issue drought permits which would have the same effect as drought orders. The new power is to be parallel to the existing drought order powers. The power of the agency to issue such permits is to be exercisable in the same circumstances as the present power to make drought orders. I commend the amendments to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 276 and 277 en bloc.—(Earl Ferrers.)


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