§ Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Harrow, West, on 16 May 2002,Official Report, column 830W on the Water Framework Directive, what measures the Government are (a) taking and (b) intending to implement prior to 2012 to prevent deterioration of water quality in the United Kingdom. 
§ Mr. Meacher
The information is as follows:
- (a) Measures taken to prevent deterioration of water quality in England are already in place, such as discharge consent conditions in relation to quality standards for water, the management of water quantity (through abstraction licensing) and measures to protect groundwater under the Groundwater
753W Regulations. These measures help meet obligations from existing Community water quality legislation and domestic river quality objectives.
- (b) Under the Water Framework Directive, article 4. in making operational the programmes of measures in the river basin plans, member states have to implement the necessary measures to prevent deterioration in the status of water bodies. All measures must be operational by 2012 at the latest.
It is too soon to say what additional water quality protective measures might need to be implemented prior to 2012. To the extent that new regulatory powers are needed, they will be included in proposed regulations on which we plan to consult next year.
Implementation of the Directive in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and with respect to the devolved functions in Wales, are matters for the Scottish Executive, the Northern Ireland Executive and the National Assembly for Wales.