Richard North, 05/07/2012  

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There was a time when, in theory at least, MPs were the protectors of our liberties, and environmental campaigners were just that, campaigners. Now, it seems, the two groups have combined to promote agendas which has nothing to do with our interests.

The agenda for today is water metering. Instead of questioning the motives of agencies which are seeking to impose these unnecessary and expensive apparatus on us, both groups in unison, are pushing the government to go further, faster.

Up front, we are told is the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee, which is telling the government that it must set clear targets for increasing the number of homes with water meters "as part of efforts to better manage England's water supplies".

It wants "clear, ambitious target to increase metering", pointing to the recommendation in "a key review" which called for 80 percent of households to have meters by 2020. Current plans, say the MPs, will not take effect swiftly enough given that rivers are already running dry.

Thus, we have government policy which quite deliberately ensures that water supplies are not adequate, thus putting stress on the water infrastructure, which MPs are now using to demand that private houses are fitted with meters.

Calling for conservation of "scarcer water resources in the face of climate change" the committee also cites "population growth", induced by the unrestrained immigration policy.

Chairwoman Anne McIntosh then ignores the government's failure to ensure sufficient water storage, or the lamentable record of water companies in preventing leakage. Instead, she tells us "Installing a meter is the most effective way to improve water efficiency, providing a clear incentive for householders to minimise wastage".

Then, in what is quite clearly a two-pronged attack, with a cuddly piece about water otters from Louise Gray in the Failygraph, in come the greenies.

Responding to the report, Friends of the Earth nature campaigner Paul de Zylva says: "Our precious wildlife is being left high and dry because too much water is being sucked out of England's rivers.

He is followed by WWF's freshwater expert, Rose Timlett. She is enlisted to say that the Efra committee's report was a "wake-up call" for the government with "exactly the right sort of proposals we want to see urgently put into action".

Entirely by coincidence, we also see the face of greed, as represented by the water industry. Senior chiefs at publicly-owned Scottish Water have paid themselves £1.5 million last year including a £369,000 bonus, despite most state-employed staff having to endure a pay freeze.

In all this, the people who don't get a look in are the consumers, the people who actually pay the bills. With the MPs having sold out to the greenies, while the media stand by and watch, we are left unrepresented and abused. But at least we can tell them where to put their water meters.


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