Water: Standards

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 3rd September 2020.

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Photo of Olivia Blake Olivia Blake Labour, Sheffield, Hallam

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, under what circumstances he would use the powers set out in Clause 81 of the Environment Bill to weaken existing targets for the chemical status of water in the UK.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Clause 81 is a narrow power which will enable updates to the list of priority substances and their environmental quality standards for surface and ground waters after the end of the transition period. This will ensure that the list of substances used to assess the chemical status of water bodies does not become “frozen” when section 2(2) European Communities Act 1972 powers are no longer available.

Updates to the list of priority substances will be informed by the latest scientific and technical knowledge. Any proposed changes will be subject to statutory consultation requirements which include the Environment Agency and any persons or bodies likely to be affected by the regulations, as well as parliamentary and public scrutiny during the secondary legislation process.

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