To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance her Department provides on the level of phosphate discharge allowable from sewage treatment works under the water framework directive; and what plans she has to review this guidance.
In July DEFRA published updated ministerial guidance to the Environment Agency to assist it in carrying out its river basin planning functions under the water framework directive. This includes guidance on environmental standards such as phosphates standards.
Current phosphate standards are set out in Directions to the Environment Agency and will apply to the end of the current six-year planning cycle in 2015.
Updated standards for phosphate will apply for the next six-year river basin planning cycle. This follows a review and consultation by the UK Water Framework Directive Technical Advisory Group. The new standards will be reflected in revised Directions to the Agency.
The Environment Agency sets limits on discharges from sewage treatment works to achieve standards set out in the Directions.