Parliament to get rainwater 'eco loos'

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The Independent Online

Water butts are to be placed on the roof of the Houses of Parliament to collect rainwater for MPs' loos.

New environmentally friendly lavatories will be flushed using rain channelled down gulleys to the dozens of Westminster bathrooms used by MPs.

The move, part of a scheme to cut water consumption in the House of Commons, follows the installation of controls to reduce the "flush volume" in MPs' lavatories and urinal water controls. Now, the Parliamentary authorities are to hire consultants to draw up plans for water-collection butts on the roofs of the Grade I-listed building.

Staff in Parliament have already begun working on the "grey water" collection scheme. However, they have ruled out the use of reed beds to recycle toilet water because of lack of space on the parliamentary estate. "It is wonderful, innovative stuff. We can collect a lot of water using the roofs," said Paul Monaghan, director of parliamentary estates.

The House of Commons authorities have set themselves a target of reducing the amount of water used by 12 per cent. They are also considering placing solar panels on Parliament's roofs.