HC Deb 14 May 1998 vol 312 cc154-5W
Mr. Gordon Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to introduce a comprehensive requirement for secondary treatment to be provided for significant sewage discharges to high natural dispersion areas; and what estimate he has made of the cost. [42033]

Angela Eagle

Under the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, secondary treatment of sewage discharges is the norm but coastal discharges may receive primary treatment if comprehensive studies establish that there would be no adverse environmental effect. We are, however, very aware of the concerns being expressed by those who are not convinced that anything less than secondary treatment will afford the necessary level of environmental protection and are giving further consideration to the Government's policy options. Decisions will have to be taken in the context of the current Periodic Review of water company price limits, which is the process of balancing the environmental obligations to be placed on water companies in England and Wales with the consequent effect on water bills.