§ Mr. Moss
I have today placed in the Library of the House a map of the two areas in Northern Ireland, namely Upper and Lower Lough Erne and Lough Neagh, which, on the advice of the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, have been identified as sensitive areas on the basis of their eutrophic status. I have also placed in the Library a list of the sewage treatment works in these areas at which the installation of phospherous removal plants will be required by the end of 1998 in accordance with the directive. These decisions will make a significant contribution to safeguarding Northern Ireland's fresh waters.
The map and list will also be available for inspection at the headquarters offices of the environment service and water executive of the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Brandreth
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to identify high natural dispersion areas—less-sensitive ares—as required by the urban waste water treatment directive; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Moss
I have today placed in the Library of the House a map showing three areas in Northern Ireland identified as high natural dispersion areas. The map shows the location of these areas, at Portrush, County Antrim; Bangor, County Down; and Kilkeel, County Down. On the basis of the information available, the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland considers that the provision of primary treatment for the named discharges into these areas will be sufficient and that no further environmental benefit will accrue from the provision of additional levels of treatment. I have accepted this advice.
Comprehensive studies will now be carried out at each location. The Department must be satisfied that the study demonstrates that the proposed discharge of primary treated effluent will not adversely affect the environment. The comprehensive studies will have to take into account the proximity of bathing waters identified under the EC bathing water directive.
These decisions will ensure that sewage will continue to receive proper treatment and the quality of Northern Ireland's coastal waters and estuaries will improve in accordance with the directive's timetable.
The map will also be available for inspection at the headquarters offices of the environment service and water executive of the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.