§ Mr. Murphy
I beg to move amendment No. 14, in page 2, line 37, after 'use', insert 'and that sluices are operational'.
I understand that the Government accept this amendment.
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones
The Government have no difficulty in accepting this amendment, but the hon. Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy) may wish to reflect on whether it is necessary. Clearly, the sluices must be operational before the Rivers Taff and Ely are totally obstructed. The proposed method of construction requires that locks and sluices be completed and operational before work commences on in-filling the last 250 m gap between the embankment and the structures at the Penarth end of the barrage. Schedule 3. paragraph 2(1)(ii) requires that works or operations shall not be commenced until details have been approved by the National Rivers Authority. I can assure hon. Members that the NRA would insist that the sluices were operational before the rivers were finally obstructed. Nonetheless, I am happy to accept the amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Murphy
I beg to move amendment. No. 15, in page 2, line 39, after 'agree', insert', for reasons of better flood protection and for no other reason,'.
Mr. Deputy Speaker
With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 98, in clause 7, page 4, line 16, at end insert'and the residential, commercial and recreational land and property affected by the impoundment and the associated rise in groundwater.'.No. 100, in clause 7, page 4, line 19, leave out 'or alleviate'.
No. 30, in clause 7, page 4, line 19, after 'flooding', insert'including flooding by impregnation of the soil'.No. 34, in clause 8, page 4, line 30, after 'flooding', insert', including flooding by impregnation of the soil'.No. 102, in clause 8, page 4, line 30, after 'flooding', insert
including by saturation of the ground through rising ground water'.947 No. 103, in clause 8, page 5, line 29, at end acid—'(7) The Development Corporation shall operate the barrage in accordance with directions from the Cardiff City Council in order(a) to alleviate flooding arising from rising ground water levels; and'.No. 42, in clause 9, page 5, line 34, leave out 'between' and insert 'of.
No. 43, in clause 9, page 5, line 34, leave out 'and four and a half.
No. 44, in clause 9, page 5, line 34, leave out 'or thereabouts'.
No. 75, in clause 20, page 12, line 13, after 'repairing', insert 'and compensating financially for.'
No. 115, in clause 20, page 12, line 13, after 'property', insert`including the making of financial compensation for such damage'.No. 136, in clause 20, page 12, line 13 after 'property', insert health and amenity'.
No. 76, in clause 20, page 12, line 17, at end insertprovided that no such regulation shall affect the entitlement of any persons to groundwater damage protection'.No. 77, in clause 20, page 12, line 17, at end insert'; but no regulations shall be made which will reduce the rights, powers and duties under Schedule 7.'.No. 78, in clause 20, page 12, line 17 at end insert—'(2A) Before making any regulation under subsection (2) above the Secretary of State shall consult any persons or bodies whose entitlement to groundwater damage protection may be affected by the regulation.'.No. 79, in clause 20, page 12, line 17 at end insert—'(3) No amendment shall be made under (2) above which shall in any way abridge reduce or limit the rights to protection by way of works, financial compensation or access to information of those occupying or owning property so affected.'.No. 116, in clause 20, page 12, line 20 at end add—'(4) The Secretary of State shall report to Parliament every three years from the date of impoundement on the operation of the groundwater damage protection provisions enacted under subsection (1) above.'.No. 117, in clause 20, page 12, line 20 at end add—'(5) The Secretary of State shall review the extent of the protected property area specified in Schedule 6 to this Act and may extend its coverage after each triannual review.'.No. 137, in schedule 7, page 31, line 14 at end insert,'in relation to persons, means a survey based on epdemiological or individual health measurement principles acceptable to the Medical Research Council and the General Medical Council, and in relation to amenity means a survey of domestic heating. comfort, micro-climate and other relevant indices of social well-being'.No. 138, in schedule 7, page 33, line 27, at end insert—(8) The Development Corporation shall carry out and publish a survey before impoundment shall commence of the health and well-being of the residential areas within the Protected Property Line, paying particular regard to the infant mortality rate, general morbidity and mortality rate domestic heating costs, micro-climate, incidence of fog and mist, hours of sunshine and levels of traffic accidents.(9) The Development Corporation shall carry out repeat surveys at its own expense at the written request of and with reasonable notice from the advisory committee at intervals of net less than three years.'.No. 126, in schedule 7, page 33, line 33, leave out '£40' and insert '£25'.
No. 139, in schedule 7, page 34, line 41, at end insert—'(e) Carry out any investigation into cost of ambient temperature and microclimate within the residential areas falling within the Protected Property line and of allied changes in health, domestic heating costs, and traffic management requirements as is appropriate'.948 No. 127, in schedule 7, page 35, line 24, leave out 'six' and insert 'three'.
No. 128, in schedule 7, page 35, line 26, at end add—'(1A) Within the protected property area, the Development Corporation may not contest such a requirement except where it can prove that such property damage is attributable to other causes than groundwater damage arising from the impoundment.'.No. 129, in schedule 7, page 35, line 37, leave out 'six' and insert 'three'.
No. 130, in schedule 7, page 37, line 23, at end insert'or the property blight arising in the area in general where groundwater damage has occurred.'.No. 131, in schedule 7, page 38, line 32, leave out'a garden belonging to a relevant building'and insert'land except to the extent it is or forms part of a building'.No. 132, in schedule 7, page 38, line 39, leave out sub-paragraph (2).
No. 133, in schedule 7, page 38, line 44, at end insert—'(3) A person has a relevant interest in land if—
No. 134, in schedule 7, page 38, line 45, leave out sub-paragraph (3).
- (a) he is entitled to dispose of the fee simple of the land or any part of it (whether in possession or reversion);
- (b) he holds, or is entitled to the rents and profits of, the land or any part of it under a lease or agreement granted or extended for a term of years certain of which not less than three years remain unexpired; or
- (c) he is a person entitled under Part I of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 to acquire the freehold or an extended lease of the land or any part of it and has, on or before the relevant day, given notice under that Act to the landlord of his desire to have the freehold or an extended base; unless he is mortgagee not in possession.'.
No. 135, in schedule 7, page 39, line 39, leave out 'a garden' and insert 'land'.
No. 140, in schedule 7, page 39, line 47, at end insert—'18A. If any person or group of persons resident within the Protected Property Line have or their legal guardians suffers damage to health or amenity, or incurs increased domestic heating costs, as a consequence of a rise in groundwater levels, compensation shall be payable by the Development Corporation.'.
§ Mr. Murphy
The House will know that one of the most significant problems that people have identified with the construction of the Cardiff bay barrage refers to groundwater levels and the possibility of flooding in other parts of our capital city. Because of the lack of time and because of the importance of this matter to the local press, I move the amendment and allow my hon. Friends to speak in whatever time is left.
§ Mr. Morgan
We are having to go at a speed, for obvious reasons, after the timetable motion. There is a large number of amendments to which we must refer briefly before the 9 o'clock deadline. Some of the amendments relate to the matter of dispute in Select Committee as it finished its consideration in February. The Cardiff Bay development corporation still took the view that it did not require any additional powers to be conferred on the Cardiff city council to deal with the problem of impregnation flooding as distinct from overground flooding by spillage of water from the rivers Taff and Ely into adjoining residential areas—classic flooding. It took the view that, if the Select Committee accepted the evidence that had been given by Dr. Miles and Professor Rushton that there could be another form of 949 flooding—flooding by impregnation—one could handle that in the same way that one would deal with over-the-bank flooding.
At the very minute that the Select Committee finished, the Queen's counsel representing the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was still maintaining that there were precedents for dealing with impregnation flooding as well. He subsequently had to accept that he was wrong and that the Cardiff city council's view that it would require additional powers was right. As a result, the Government had to climb down, as on so many other matters recently, and accept that the Bill would now have to be changed, but in another place. We would much rather do that job in this place, which is why we have included amendments to grant powers to Cardiff city council to deal with impregnation flooding.
Obviously, the fears that exist in some residential areas, particularly those west of the River Taff relate to what is known as the urban swamp thesis. That matter was substantially discussed in Committee. Nobody wants to live in an urban swamp. If we are to have one, we will have to drain the swamp to enable people to enjoy the residential amenities that they deserve. That is why we had a very strong reaction by the Select Committee, and why we want to incorporate it in the amendments. At page 62.3 of his evidence, Professor Rushton said:Thirdly, there is a serious risk that the construction of a barrage would lead to dangerously high water levels in severallocations in Cardiff."
People would not say that for nothing if they have reputations such as the Professor's as world experts on how to drain areas. He is a civil engineer, and he made the point very forcibly that, in his professional view, that was going to be one of the problems. We want to see tonight, rather than by way of a promise from the Government, some sign of what the Government will do when the matter goes to another place, which in turn means that it will come back to this place next year in order to reconcile the two versions. That is why we have mentioned impregnation flooding.
We have also mentioned the question raised by the Wallis and Munro studies which have been independently validated as statistically worth looking at—namely, whether the health and amenity of people in areas with high water tables will be adversely affected. The Minister earlier tried to rubbish that and say that his independent experts—we do not know who they are, where they have studied, what they have done, or how they have studied the proposals—say that it is a load of rubbish and that there is no possibility of any adverse effect on health and amenity from the consequences of a high water table and waterlogging creating cooler conditions, mists and fogs and adverse effects on health.
Perhaps the Minister is right, perhaps he is wrong—we do not know. If he is right, it will not cost a penny to accept the amendments. If there is no effect on health and amenity, one does not have a right to compensation, because one will not be able to get a penny out of the Cardiff Bay development corporation. If the Minister accepts the amendment, we can all go home happy. The right exists, but it will not cost the Minister anything. Why is he unwilling to accept the amendment in the circumstances?
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones
Amendment No. 15 deals with the barrage design. The corporation has agreed with the NRA that the barrage will be constructed so that it can be drained between tides to a level of 1.25 m below ordnance datum. That provision is included in clause 2 (2). The purpose of that provision is to enable the pollution from any accidental discharge either into the bay or into the rivers upstream of the bay to be cleared rapidly once it has reached the barrage. The requirements have been included in the Bill at the NRA's request. Although the clause permits a change of design with the NRA's agreement, it is extremely unlikely that that body would seek to reduce a level of protection that it has negotiated with the development corporation.
The amendment seeks to permit the change in ability to drain the bay only for the reason of better flood protection. Logic dictates that any change in design that reduces the ability to drain the bay cannot have a beneficial effect on flood protection. Although the impact on flood protection of draining the bay between tides is very marginal, I cannot envisage a situation in which the NRA would agree to such a reduction for the purpose of improving flood protection. Equally, the NRA accepts that greater ability to drain the bay than already included in the Bill is not required. The amendment therefore is unnecessary, since the corporation has already designed the barrage so that it can be drained to the specified level between one high tide and the next.
Amendments No. 100, 30, 101, 34, 102 and 103 would add the alleviation of flooding by the raising of groundwater to the purposes for which the development corporation may operate the barrage under clauses 7 and 8. They would also require the corporation to operate the barrage under directions from the Cardiff city council and the NRA to prevent or alleviate flooding from groundwater.
The amendments are inappropriate for two reasons. First, they confuse surface flooding with raised groundwater levels. Surface flooding is the overflowing of rivers at times of high river flow by overtopping of the river banks.
Impregnation of the ground is the result of raised groundwater levels. The only way in which the powers in clauses 7 and 8, which deal with the operation of the barrage, could be exercised to alleviate groundwater rise is by alteration of the impoundment level below the level of 4 to 4.5 m above ordnance datum specified in clause 9. Neither the National Rivers Authority nor Cardiff city council has requested the powers that the amendments propose for them. Indeed, to give the National Rivers Authority responsibility for groundwater would provide it with responsibility for a subject on which it has no legal powers. The point was made clear in the NRA statement of December 1991.
The city council argued before the Select Committee that its powers to deal with flooding under the Land Drainage Act 1991 did not extend to groundwater. As I already explained this evening, the Government will table an amendment in another place to include the saturation of ground within the definition of flooding under the Land Drainage Act 1991.
We have no doubt about the importance of the matters covered by the amendments, but their purpose has already been achieved by other means. The hon. Member for Cardiff, West withdrew the amendments in Committee, and I hope that he will feel able to do so now.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ It being Nine o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER, pursuant to Order this day, proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on amendments.