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Pollution: Tame Valley

Volume 495: debated on Friday 3 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the risk of diffuse pollution from (a) agriculture, (b) transport and (c) industry in the Tame Valley catchment area. (283222)

The Environment Agency is mitigating the risk of diffuse pollution in the Tame Valley catchment by regulating pig and poultry installations under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations (EPR) 2007. The Environment Agency also undertakes targeted visits to nitrate vulnerable zones and responds to pollution incidents.

The Environment Agency has advised on anti-pollution measures during the planning and development of major road constructions in the area and regulates the highest risk activities of industry through the EPR 2007. The Environment Agency also controls diffuse pollution through pollution prevention visits which are undertaken at un-permitted EPR sites.

DEFRA is taking forward several proposals to mitigate diffuse pollution generally including a ban on phosphates in domestic laundry cleaning products. Such a ban would contribute to a reduction in phosphate pollution in watercourses, by dealing directly with this source of phosphate pollution.

Through the draft Floods and Water Management Bill we are consulting on proposals to make it compulsory to consider sustainable drainage systems in new developments. Sustainable drainage systems will not only reduce flooding but also contribute to a reduction in diffuse pollution of the aquatic environment.

In the draft Bill we are also developing proposals to improve the way wrong connections of foul sewage to surface water sewers are dealt with. Our proposals would make dealing with these wrong connections more efficient and so open up opportunities for other initiatives on wrong connections to reduce pollution of rivers and streams.

The Nitrates Action Programme requires farmers in nitrate vulnerable zones to comply with requirements concerning the use and management of manures and fertilisers. There is an extensive advisory programme in support of this.