Mr. Desmond Turner
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the progress by the water companies in cleaning bathing water on British coastlines, and what further measures he proposes to obtain higher standards of effluent treatment disposal by water companies. 
§ Ms Angela Eagle
The improvement programme undertaken by the water companies in England and Wales, the water authorities in Scotland and the water service in Northern Ireland has led to 90 per cent. of UK bathing waters meeting the EC Bathing Water Directive's mandatory coliform bacteria standards in the 1996 bathing season. This compares with compliance rates of 67 per cent. and 80 per cent. in 1988 and 1993 respectively. Compliance rates should further increase as more schemes are completed over the next few years under this Directive and under the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.