Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, whereas I am very grateful to all who took part in the debate on this amendment, I am very disappointed by the Minister's response. The Minister deliberately said that in the first part of the amendmentI take it that he is referring to subsection (3)the company, the undertaker, or whatever, has grounds for legal challenge. That would be a costly and difficult course for water companies. I think that the appeals mechanism would be better; that is, appealing to an independent person, possibly a member of the court of arbitration. I do not understand why the Government have taken this attitude.
In addition, we are not being dealt with fairly as regards appeals which are not related to competition. Why should Ofwat, being the mouthpiece of the Secretary of State, not be allowed to appeal on issues not related to competition? With the support that I have received from around the House, in this instance I should like to test the opinion of the House.
On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 37) shall be agreed to?
Their Lordships divided: Contents, 123; Not-Contents, 120.
Division No. 1
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Gray of Contin, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Michie of Gallanach, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
O'Cathain, B. [Teller]
Park of Monmouth, B.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Perry of Walton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Sheppard of Didgemere, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L. [Teller]
Hilton of Eggardon, B. [Teller]
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord President of the Council)
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.
24 Jun 2003 : Column 160
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer moved Amendment No. 38:
Before Schedule 1, insert the following new schedule
"SCHEDULE A1 DEFINITIONS
1 The following definitions shall be adopted for the purpose of this Act and shall supersede all previous definitions in the Environment Act 1995 (c. 25), the Water Resources Act 1991 (c. 57) and the Water Industry Act 1991 (c. 56)
"surface water" means inland waters, except groundwater; transitional waters and coastal waters, except in respect of chemical status for which it shall also include territorial waters;
"groundwater" means all water which is below the surface of the ground in the saturation zone and in direct contact with the ground or subsoil;
"inland water" means all standing or flowing water on the surface of the land, and all groundwater on the landward side of the baseline from which the breadth of territorial waters is measured;
"river" means a body of inland water flowing for the most part on the surface of the land but which may flow underground for part of its course;
"lake" means a body of standing inland surface water;
"transitional waters" are bodies of surface water in the vicinity of river mouths which are partly saline in character as a result of their proximity to coastal waters but which are substantially influenced by freshwater flows;
"coastal water" means surface water on the landward side of a line, every point of which is at a distance of one nautical mile on the seaward side from the nearest point of the baseline from which the breadth of territorial waters is measured, extending where appropriate up to the outer limit of transitional waters;
24 Jun 2003 : Column 161
"artificial water body" means a body of surface water created by human activity;
"heavily modified water body" means a body of surface water which as a result of physical alterations by human activity is substantially changed in character, as designated by the member State in accordance with the provisions of Annex II of the Water Framework Directive;
"body of surface water" means a discrete and significant element of surface water such as a lake, a reservoir, a stream, river or canal, part of a stream, river or canal, a transitional water or a stretch of coastal water;
"aquifer" means a subsurface layer or layers of rock or other geological strata of sufficient porosity and permeability to allow either a significant flow of groundwater or the abstraction of significant quantities of groundwater;
"body of groundwater" means a distinct volume of groundwater with an aquifer or aquifers;
"river basin" means the area of land from which all surface run-off flows through a sequence of streams, rivers and, possibly, lakes into the sea at a single river mouth, estuary or delta;
"sub-basin" means the area of land from which all surface run-off flows through a series of streams, rivers and, possibly, lakes to a particular point in a water course (normally a lake or a river confluence);
"river basin district" means the area of land and sea, made up of one or more neighbouring river basins together with their associated groundwaters and coastal waters, which is identified under Article 3(1) of the Water Framework Directive as the main unit for management of river basins;
"competent authority" means an authority or authorities identified under Article 3(2) or 3(3) of the Water Framework Directive;
"surface water status" is the general expression of the status of a body of surface water, determined by the poorer of its ecological status and its chemical status;
"good surface water status" means the status achieved by a surface water body when both its ecological status and its chemical status are at least 'good';
"groundwater status" is the general expression of the status of a body of groundwater, determined by the poorer of its quantitative status and its chemical status;
"good groundwater status" means the status achieved by a groundwater body when both its quantitative status and its chemical status are at least 'good';
"ecological status" is an expression of the quality of the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems associated with surface waters, classified in accordance with Annex V of the Water Framework Directive;
"good ecological status" is the status of a body of surface water, so classified in accordance with Annex V of the Water Framework Directive;
"good ecological potential" is the status of a heavily modified or an artificial body of water, so classified in accordance with the relevant provisions of Annex V of the Water Framework Directive;
"good surface water chemical status" means the chemical status required to meet the environmental objectives for surface waters established in Article 4(1)(a) of the Water Framework Directive, that is the chemical status achieved by a body of surface water in which concentrations of pollutants do not exceed the environmental quality standards established in Annex IX and under Article 16(7) of the Water Framework Directive, and under other relevant European Community legislation setting environmental quality standards at a Community level;
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"good groundwater chemical status" is the chemical status of a body of groundwater which meets all the conditions set out in table 2.3.2 of Annex V of the Water Framework Directive;
"quantitative status" is an expression of the degree to which a body of groundwater is affected by direct and indirect abstractions;
"available groundwater resource" means the long-term annual rate of overall recharge of the body of groundwater less the long-term annual rate of flow required to achieve the ecological quality objectives for associated surface waters specified under Article 4 of the Water Framework Directive, to avoid any significant diminution in the ecological status of such waters and to avoid any significant damage to associated terrestrial ecosystems;
"good quantitative status" is the status defined in table 2.1.2 of Annex V of the Water Framework Directive;
"hazardous substances" means substances or groups that are toxic, persistent and liable to bio-accumulate, and other substances or groups of substances which give rise to an equivalent level of concern;
"priority substances" means substances or groups of substances identified in accordance with Article 16(2) and listed in Annex X of the Water Framework Directive. Among these substances there are 'priority hazardous substances' which means substances indentified in accordance with Article 16(3) and (6) of the Water Framework Directive for which measures have to be taken in accordance with Article 16(1) and (8) of the Water Framework Directive;
"pollutant" means any substance liable to cause pollution, in particular those listed in Annex VIII of the Water Framework Directive;
"direct discharge to groundwater" means discharge of pollutants into groundwater without percolation throughout the soil or subsoil;
"pollution" means the direct or indirect introduction, as a result of human activity, of substances or heat into the air, water or land which may be harmful to human health or the quality of aquatic ecosystems or terrestrial ecosystems directly depending on aquatic ecosystems, which result in damage to material property, or which impair or interfere with amenities and other legitimate uses of the environment;
"environmental objectives" means the objectives set out in Article 4 of the Water Framework Directive;
"environmental quality standard" means the concentration of a particular pollutant or groups of pollutants in water, sediment or biota which should not be exceeded in order to protect human health and the environment;
"combined approach" means the control of discharges and emissions into surface waters according to the approach set out in Article 10 of the Water Framework Directive;
"water intended for human consumption" has the same meaning as under Directive 80/778/EEC of the European Parliament and of the Council, as amended by Directive 98/83/EC;
"water services" means all services which provide, for households, public institutions or any economic activity
(a) abstraction, impoundment, storage, treatment and distribution of surface water or groundwater;
(b) waste-water collection and treatment facilities which subsequently discharge into surface water.
"water use" means water services together with any other activity identified under Article 5 of the Water Framework Directive. This concept applies for the
24 Jun 2003 : Column 163
purposes of Article 1 and of the economic analysis carried out according to Article 5 and Annex III, point (b) of the Water Framework Directive;
"emission limit values", subject to paragraph 2 to 4, means the mass, expressed in terms of certain specified parameters, concentration or level of an emission (or both), which may not be exceeded during any one or more periods of time;
"emission controls", subject to paragraph 5, are controls requiring a specific emission limitation, for instance an emission limit value, or otherwise specifying limits or conditions on the effects, nature of other characteristics of an emission or operating conditions which affect emissions.
2 Emission limit values may also be laid down for certain groups, families or categories of substances, in particular those identified under Article 16 of the Water Framework Directive.
3 The emission limit values for substances shall normally apply at the point where the emissions leave the installation, dilution being disregarded when determining them.
4 With regard to indirect releases into water, the effect of a waste-water treatment plant may be taken into account when determining the emission limit values of the installations involved, provided that an equivalent level is guaranteed for protection of the environment as a whole and provided that this does not lead to higher levels of pollution in the environment.
5 Use of the term "emission control" in this Act in respect of the provisions of any other European Parliament and Council Directive other than the Water Framework Directive shall not be held as reinterpreting those provisions in any respect."
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the amendment places in the Bill definitions that the Water Framework Directive, which must be enacted in international law by the end of the year, sets out as the definitions that should be used in discussing water issues.
I believe that the Government feel that it is acceptable to have different definitions within the water world, but that will simply lead to confusion and difficulty. I have not been convinced of a good reason why we should continue without firm definitions that look to the future. I quote from New Civil Engineer magazine of 22nd Maynot a magazine known for being at all political, but which is entirely practical:
"It may seem as if there is plenty of time to implement the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), as every EU country has until 2015 to comply. But time is actually quite tight when the philosophy behind water supply and management is to be radically transformed".
The first thing in a tight time-scale is that people need to know exactly what they are talking about. By adopting my amendment the definitions will make life much easier for all concerned and avoid confusion. I hope that the Government will be minded to be positive about setting down a clear guideline as to what means what and that they will not leave the agencies and the public in a state of confusion when dealing with water issues. I beg to move.