HL Deb 20 October 1982 vol 435 cc218-9WA
Lord Beaumont of Whitley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to comply within five years with EC Directive 80/778/EEC of 15th July 1980 on water; and, if not, for what geographically defined population groups and in what exceptional circumstances the intend to seek exemption.

The Earl of Avon

The United Kingdom intends to comply with EC Directive 80/778/EEC concerning the quality of water for human consumption within the 5-year period permitted. However, under Article 9, the directive allows derogations when situations arise from the nature and structure of the ground; and under Article 20, a request may be submitted for a longer period to meet the directive's values for exceptional cases and for geographically defined population groups.

Some acidic and highly coloured waters and some groundwaters contain iron, manganese and other substances at concentrations above the directive's values; these substances are not considered dangerous to health and the United Kingdom will make applications for a limited number of derogations or delays. There may also be a limited number of other requests for delays, mainly in the application of the directive to small private water supplies. The geographical definition of the groups and extent or scope of the delays have not yet been determined. Relevant studies are in hand.