HC Deb 07 July 1987 vol 119 cc129-31W
Sir Dudley Smith

Asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the current policy of his Department towards the European Community drinking water directive setting maxi num levels for various substances in drinking water; how the United Kingdom compares in compliance with its European Community partners in this respect; how many derogations are currently in operation in the United Kingdom and where; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Moynihan

The Government welcome the European Community drinking water directive as a very useful measure for maintaining and improving drinking water quality. Although the directive has been fully implemented in the United Kingdom, it is not yet possible to make comparison with other member states as most are in the process of implementation or are still preparing legislation. Implementation has highlighted some features of the directive which required review and we are pressing the Commission on this. The following table provides information about derogations in England either given by my Department or sought from the European Commission.

Total number of derogations given under article 9(1) (a) or sought under article 20
Water authority area1 Number
Anglian 77
Northumbrian 8
North West 23
Severn-Trent 51
Southern 4
South West 38
Thames 12
Yorkshire 59
1 Includes statutory water companies.

Many of these derogations will no longer be needed in 1990 in view of improvements now under way or planned. A temporary derogation has also been requested until December 1989 for certain parts of the United Kingdom in respect of the lead parameter and until 1995 for private supplies for the microbiological and lead parameters.

Responsibility for this subject in other parts of the United Kingdom rests with my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.