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Water Directives

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The existing EU directives with a major impact on water are set out in Annexes A and B of the Defra publication Directing the flow: Priorities for future water policy (November 2002). Ascertaining the full implementation costs of all the water directives, some of which date back to the 1970s, would be highly complex and disproportionately expensive. However, recent regulatory impact assessments have been published in respect of: the Water Framework Directive (see Appendix D of the third consultation paper on the implementation of the EC Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC)); the Nitrates Directive (see final RIA published June 2002), the European Commission proposals to revise the 1976 Bathing Water Directive (see Explanatory Memorandum 13789/02), and the proposed new designations under the Freshwater Fish Directive (78/659/EEC) (see appendix 4 of the consultation document issued by Defra/WAG in June 2003). Estimates of costs arising from the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive are contained in Sewage Treatment in the UK: UK Implementation of the EC Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

Copies of these documents are available from the Library of the House.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

10 Nov 2003 : Column WA171

Lord Whitty: The existing EU directives with a major impact on water are set out in Annexes A and B of the Defra publication Directing the Flow: Priorities for Water Policy. Ascertaining the full implementation costs of all these directives, many of which date back to the 1970s, would be highly complex and disproportionately expensive.

However, the annual average household water and sewerage bill in 2003–04 in England and Wales is £236, an increase of 21.4 per cent (in real terms) since 1989.

The Director of the Office of Water Services sets water and sewerage companies' price limits. He will publish his draft determinations in July 2004 for the next five years, for consultation. He will publish his final decisions in November 2004.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will request the appropriate European Commissioner to take action against the discharge of raw sewage from Brussels into the River Meuse.[HL5269]

Lord Whitty: The European Commission referred Belgium to the European Court of Justice in 2001 in relation to its obligation under the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive to collect and treat urban waste water in Brussels.

10 Nov 2003 : Column WA172

Licensed Premises: Noise

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they have provided no opportunity for public debate on the report commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on noise from licensed premises.[HL5293]

Lord Whitty: The research report was commissioned to help inform government policy on the control of noise from licensed premises. We would not usually provide a formal opportunity for public debate on any particular report published by the department. However, any comments the public wish to make will be noted. The report can be read at www.defra.gov. uk/environment/noise/mcm/index.htm.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provided no opportunity for debate at their Noise Forum on 29 October on the report which they had commissioned on noise from licensed premises and which was published on the same day.[HL5294]

Lord Whitty: The UK Noise Forum Conference aims to cover a broad range of issues across neighbour, neighbourhood and environmental noise policy. The many competing pressures on the content of the day's agenda meant that time was not available for this particular topic. The conference agenda is agreed by its parent body, the UK Noise Forum. Members of the UK Noise Forum are drawn from across central and local government, the devolved administrations, action groups, charities and noise control professionals.



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