§ Mr. Allen
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with the Health and Safety Executive and the water companies to assess the need for risk assessment on the likelihood of water leaks from company pipes destabilising ground and producing accidents; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Sir Paul Beresford
None. Works concerned with the repair of leaking pipes are covered by current health and safety legislation which protects the company employees and members of the public. The likelihood of a leaking pipe destabilising the surrounding ground depends on a number of factors, including topography, ground conditions and the force of the leak. The main occurrences are as a result of bursts in mains pipes which are readily visible and are quickly repaired with the necessary safety precautions. All companies have introduced programmes to reduce leakage from their pipes which will also reduce the likelihood of any long-term damage to surrounding ground.