HL Deb 20 April 1994 vol 554 cc14-5WA
Lord Brougham and Vaux

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they intend to introduce the system of statutory water quality objectives under the Water Resources Act 1991.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment (The Earl of Arran)

My honourable friends the Minister for the Environment and Countryside and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales have today laid before Parliament the Surface Waters (River Ecosystem) (Classification) Regulations 1994. These regulations, together with an accompanying document specifying procedures to be used by the National Rivers Authority, prescribe, for the first time, a statutory system for classifying the overall quality of rivers in England and Wales. This builds on the previous informal river classification system, and follows extensive consultations. The regulations will allow the process of introductory statutory water quality objectives to begin.

Water quality objectives will provide a stable framework for the NRA to maintain and, where appropriate, improve river quality. They will build on the major programmes of investment which are already planned or underway. My honourable friends will, after advice from the NRA, consult on proposals for the first water quality objectives to be set on the basis of these regulations.