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Beach Pollution

Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 27 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the main measures taken since 1974 by his Department to combat pollution of beaches in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement on recent progress.

The EEC bathing water directive was adopted in 1975. In December 1979 the present administration announced a list of 27 bathing waters to be monitored under the terms of the directive. Further bathing waters were added in 1985 and subsequent years. At present 440 bathing waters have been identified including all major seaside resorts. During the 1989 bathing season 76 per cent. met the directive's mandatory standards for coliform bacteria.A £1·4 billion investment programme was announced last year to bring all bathing waters into compliance within 10 years. On 5 March my right hon. Friend announced, at column

452, a further £1·5 billion investment programme to ensure that all substantial discharges of sewage are treated before discharge to inland or coastal waters. Discussions are now being held with the water industry to work out the detailed implementation of this policy.

Measures are also being taken to reduce litter on beaches. The Environmental Protection Bill places a new duty on local authorities and some other landowners to do all that is practicable to keep their land, including beaches, clear of litter and refuse.