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Water Pollution

Volume 33: debated on Tuesday 30 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will make it his policy to maintain the traditional United Kingdom approach to the control of water pollution, which relates discharges to the use of the receiving water;(2) whether he and the European Economic Community Commission sought scientific advice on the environmental quality standards presently under discussion in the European Economic Community for cadmium;(3) whether he considers that the present European Economic community proposals on the draft directive on cadmium discharges to water are consistent with the alternative environmental quality objective approach allowed in the parent directive on discharges of dangerous substances to the aquatic environment (76/464/EEC of 4 May 1976), and with the definition of pollution contained in that directive;(4) if, in view of the fact that the standards for cadmium discharges to water now under discussion in the European Economic Community will have a significant effect on the United Kingdom chemical industry and might lead to job losses in that industry, he will seek to ensure that the standards take account of the natural environmental circumstances of the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom's continuing approach to the control of water pollution, which relates the permitted discharges to the uses of the receiving waters and the environmental circumstances, is an integral part of the regime established in 1976 by the European Council directive 76/464/EEC. This framework directive provides that, in subsequent specific directives, the discharges of particular substances, such as cadmium, may be controlled by the setting of quality standards for affected waters which are intended to eliminate pollution—defined as harm to man or the environment.Detailed discussions on the draft cadmium directive are in progress. The United Kingdom is vigorously seeking to ensure that its structure is consistent with the framework directive and that the directive on mercury, and to obtain agreement on quality standards which, following scientific advice and consultation with industry, are considered appropriate to eliminate pollution, taking account of the environment into which the discharges are made.