Examination of witnesses (Questions 340-346)|
TUESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2001
340. And you think that the power should be
included in this legislation?
(Mr Marsden) We do, on that specific point, yes.
341. Are there other matters that you think
should be in this legislation which are not in?
(Mr Marsden) I have mentioned the issue of the duty
and the Consumer Council. They are Section 28G authorities within
the meaning of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act. As to whether
or not there needs to be a cross-linking measure within the Bill
to ensure that comes through the Water Bill, no, I think it is
(Ms Giacomelli) The main thing is the powers to underpin
the catchment abstraction management strategies to enable the
Environment Agency to manage water resources effectively. I think
the time limited licences, bringing their existing licences right
into the time limited structure without compensation payable,
is the key thing.
342. Would you like the regulator to have more
of a duty to deal with environmental issues? Is that not really
saying that you cannot do it so hand it over to somebody else?
Should you not be shouting loud and clear and then you do not
need someone else to do it because you will be able to influence
(Mr Marsden) Of course we are not the primary regulator
across the water environment. That is the Environment Agency from
whom you were taking evidence earlier this morning. Our regulatory
role is very specific to designated sites. We have stronger powers
than ever before under the new Act but we are still heavily reliant
even there on the Environment Agency and the review of the consent
process which is currently under way.
343. But is it not better for you to have the
powers to shout loud and clear rather than to give somebody else
the duty to consider the matter which they may not think as important
when they have considered it?
(Mr Marsden) What we would like the Director General
to be about is sustainable management of water resources. That
takes account of the social, the economic and the environmental
and it should be the duty of the regulator to ensure that.
344. So you would transfer some staff from yourselves
and from the Environment Agency over to the regulator?
(Mr Marsden) We are already short staffed to deliver
on the new Act. The answer to that would have to be no.
345. I know this is primarily about water resources
and management and so on, but what about pollution? Are you interested
in any of those aspects of the water environment whereby ifand
I am being very broad brush thereany kind of harm was caused
to water courses or to ground water through pollution, and do
you think there is scope for measures to deal with that within
a Water Bill or not, from your point of view and as it affects
(Mr Marsden) It is difficult to capture this in the
current Water Bill, but at the top of our agenda is currently
to diffuse pollution from agriculture. It is increasing and increasingly
serious and we are actively engaged with the Environment Agency
to begin to tackle that.
346. But you do not see it as something to be
tacked onto this Bill?
(Mr Marsden) It is very difficult to do.
Chairman: On that note, thank you very much
for your evidence.