Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): Many of us have unexpectedly acquired waterways in our constituencies, as I have in Redbourn, because of flooding and burst mains, and the only improvement that we want is to return those waterways to roads. That is held up by a shortage of tankers. Will the Minister investigate the possibility of releasing tankers from the emergency services to supplement those provided by Thames Water and the county council?

    Mr. Meacher: I think that that question goes rather wide of British Waterways. It is a pity that the right hon. Gentleman, who inherited this important asset, was unable to persuade his Government to end the huge under- investment that went on for 20 years. However, the point that the right hon. Gentleman made is sensible, and I shall investigate it and write to him.