Water Industry Act 1991

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1991 c. 56


Water Industry Act 1991

1991 CHAPTER 56

An Act to consolidate enactments relating to the supply of water and the provision of sewerage services, with amendments to give effect to recommendations of the Law Commission.

[25th July 1991]

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Preliminary

Part I

Preliminary

The Director General of Water Services

The Director General of Water Services

S-1 The Director General of Water Services.

1 The Director General of Water Services.

(1) There shall continue to be an officer known as the Director General of Water Services (in this Act referred to as ‘the Director’) for the purpose of carrying out the functions of that Director under this Act.

(2) Appointment of any person to hold office as the Director shall be made by the Secretary of State.

(3) An appointment of a person to hold office as the Director shall be for a term not exceeding five years; but previous appointment to that office shall not affect eligibility for reappointment.

(4) The Director may at any time resign his office as the Director by notice addressed to the Secretary of State; and the Secretary of State may remove any person from that office on the ground of incapacity or misbehaviour.

(5) Subject to the preceding provisions of this section, the Director shall hold and vacate office as such in accordance with the terms of his appointment.

(6) The provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect with respect to the Director.

General duties

General duties

S-2 General duties with respect to water industry.

2 General duties with respect to water industry.

(1) This section shall have effect for imposing duties on the Secretary of State and on the Director as to when and how they should exercise and perform the following powers and duties, that is to say—

(a) in the case of the Secretary of State, the powers and duties conferred or imposed on him by virtue of the provisions of this Act relating to the regulation of relevant undertakers; and

(b) in the case of the Director, the powers and duties conferred or imposed on him by virtue of any of those provisions, by the provisions relating to the financial conditions of requisitions or by the provisions relating to the movement of certain pipes.

(2) The Secretary of State or, as the case may be, the Director shall exercise and perform the powers and duties mentioned in subsection (1) above in the manner that he considers is best calculated—

(a) to secure that the functions of a water undertaker and of a sewerage undertaker are properly carried out as respects every area of England and Wales; and

(b) without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (a) above, to secure that companies holding appointments under Chapter I of Part II of this Act as relevant undertakers are able (in particular, by securing reasonable returns on their capital) to finance the proper carrying out of the functions of such undertakers.

(3) Subject to subsection (2) above, the Secretary of State or, as the case may be, the Director shall exercise and perform the powers and duties mentioned in subsection (1) above in the manner that he considers is best calculated—

(a) to ensure that the interests of every person who is a customer or potential customer of a company which has been or may be appointed under Chapter I of Part II of this Act to be a relevant undertaker are protected as respects the fixing and recovery by that company of water and drainage charges and, in particular—

(i) that the interests of customers and potential customers in rural areas are so protected; and

(ii) that no undue preference is shown, and that there is no undue discrimination, in the fixing of those charges;

(b) to ensure that the interests of every such person are also protected as respects the other terms on which any services are provided by that company in the course of the carrying out of the functions of a relevant undertaker and as respects the quality of those services;

(c) to ensure that the interests of every such person are further protected as respects benefits that could be secured for them by the application in a particular manner of any of the proceeds of any disposal (including a disposal before the Secretary of State and the Director became subject to the duties imposed by virtue of this paragraph) of any of that company's protected land or of any interest or right in or over any of that land;

(d) to promote economy and efficiency on the part of any such company in the carrying out of the functions of a relevant undertaker; and

(e) to facilitate effective competition, with respect to such matters as he considers appropriate, between persons holding or seeking appointments under that Chapter.

(4) In performing his duty under subsection (3) above, so far as it requires him to do anything in the manner which he considers is best calculated to ensure that the interests of the customers and potential customers of any company are protected as respects the quality of any services provided by that company in the course of the carrying out of the functions of a relevant undertaker, the Secretary of State or, as the case may be, the Director shall take into account, in particular, the interests of those who are disabled or of pensionable age.

(5) In this section the references to water and drainage charges are references to—

(a) any charges in respect of any services provided in the course of the carrying out of the functions of a relevant undertaker; and

(b) amounts of any other description which such an undertaker is authorised by or under any enactment to require any of its customers or potential customers to pay.

(6) For the purposes of this section—

(a) the reference in subsection (1) above to the provisions of this Act relating to the regulation of relevant undertakers is a reference to the provisions contained in Part II of this Act (except section 28 and Schedule 4), or in any of sections 38, 39, 95, 96, 153, 181, 182, 193 to 195 and 201 to 203 below;

(b) the reference in that subsection to the provisions relating to the financial conditions of requisitions is a reference to the provisions contained in sections 42, 43, 48, 99 and 100 below; and

(c) the reference in that subsection to the provisions relating to the movement of certain pipes is a reference to the provisions of section 185 below.

S-3 General environmental and recreational duties.

3 General environmental and recreational duties.

(1) It shall be the duty of each of the following, that is to say—

(a) the Secretary of State;

(b) the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food;

(c) the Director; and

(d) every company holding an appointment as a relevant undertaker,

in formulating or considering any proposals relating to any functions of a relevant undertaker (including, in the case of such a company, any functions which, by virtue of that appointment, are functions of the company itself) to comply with the requirements imposed in relation to the proposals by subsections (2) and (3) below.

(2) The requirements imposed by this subsection in relation to any such proposals as are mentioned in subsection (1) above are—

(a) a requirement, so far as may be consistent—

(i) with the purposes of any enactment relating to the functions of the undertaker; and

(ii) in the case of the Secretary of State and the Director, with their duties under section 2 above,

so to exercise any power conferred with respect to the proposals on the person subject to the requirement as to further the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty and the conservation of flora, fauna and geological or physiographical features of special interest;

(b) a requirement to have regard to the desirability of protecting and conserving buildings, sites and objects of archaeological, architectural or historic interest; and

(c) a requirement to take into account any effect which the proposals would have on the beauty or amenity of any rural or urban area or on any such flora, fauna, features, buildings, sites or objects.

(3) The requirements imposed by this subsection in relation to any such proposals as are mentioned in subsection (1) above are, subject to the requirements imposed by subsection (2) above—

(a) a requirement to have regard to the desirability of preserving for the public any freedom of access to areas of woodland, mountains, moor, heath, down, cliff or foreshore and other places of natural beauty;

(b) a requirement to have regard to the desirability of maintaining the availability to the public of any facility for visiting or inspecting any building, site or object of archaeological, architectural or historic interest; and

(c) a requirement to take into account any effect which the proposals would have on any such freedom of access or on the availability of any such facility.

(4) Subsections (1) to (3) above shall apply so as to impose duties on the...

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