HC Deb 02 July 2003 vol 408 cc343-4W
Mr. Peter Robinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which rivers and lakes in Northern Ireland are monitored for water quality; and what the regularity is of the sampling process. [122375]

Angela Smith

The Northern Ireland river monitoring network covers approximately 5,000 km and involves some 600 sampling points. All rivers classified as primary, secondary or minor are included in the network. Rivers are sampled monthly to assess chemical quality and are monitored for biological quality either once, twice or three times a year, depending mainly on the river size. Details of the rivers monitored can be found on the Environment and Heritage Service website at www.ehsni.gov.uk/pubs/ publications/River_Monitoring.pdf. I am arranging for a copy of "A River Water Quality Monitoring Strategy for Northern Ireland May 2001" to be placed in the House of Commons Library. Maps of the monitored rivers can be accessed at www.ehsni.gov.uk/environment/ waterManage/quality/rivers/freshwaterGQA/mainpage. htm. Monitoring is undertaken both to assess compliance with EC Directives and to classify river water quality under national classification schemes.

Lough Neagh, and Upper and Lower Lough Erne are designated under the EC Freshwater Fish Directive (78/659/EEC) and are monitored for compliance on chemical quality on a monthly basis. Three other Loughs (Upper and Lower Lough Macnean and Lough Melvin), although not designated, are also similarly monitored for chemical quality monthly.

Additional non-routine monitoring is carried out on rivers and lakes in Northern Ireland for a range of purposes including development of new monitoring and classification mechanisms for rivers and lakes which will be required by the EC Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) for 2006.

Lady Hermon

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the progress being made with the Water Service's water efficiency programme. [121931]

Mr. Spellar

I have asked the Chief Executive of Water Service to write to the hon. Lady in response to this question. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library.