No Tory enlightenment on rivers

In an otherwise excellent article on the Environment Agency (Profile, 15 January) I would challenge one point.

The National Rivers Authority was not the product of enlightened thinking on the part of Nicholas Ridley or his party. The Tories saw no need for such a body. It was the direct result of pressure mounted in the UK by organisations opposed to water privatisation and through the European Parliament by MEPs such as Ken Collins. The UK would have been in breach of EEC legislation, had the Tories continued with plans to privatise the industry without creating an independent body to regulate the water environment. Only under threat of legal challenge was the decision taken to set up a rivers authority.

Alex Thompson
National Organising Officer, Unison
London WC1

This article first appeared in the 22 January 2001 issue of the New Statesman, Iraq: the great cover-up