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Water Quality

Volume 205: debated on Monday 9 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the quality of Scotland's rivers and other surface waters.

A full report of the wate quality survey of Scotland 1990 is being prepared for publication, but I am pleased to announce that a summary has been published today and copies have been placed in the Library. The results of the survey are like a breath of fresh air in the current climate of pollution scare stories.Hon. Members will be interested to note the main findings of the survey which was carried out by the river purification boards and is the most comprehensive yet undertaken. They are:

the proportion of Scotland's rivers which are "unpolluted" has risen from 94·9 per cent. in 1985 to 97 per cent. in 1990, representing a net increase of 968 km;
there has been a 56 per cent. reduction in the length of "grossly polluted" rivers in Scotland between 1985 and 1990;
there have been significant improvements in the quality of Scotland's estuaries—96·2 per cent. of estuaries and 91·3 per cent. of coastal waters are of a satisfactory quality.