Food Law News - EU - 1996

11 July 1996: Commission Weekly Information (Drinking water standards)

Extract from Commission Weekly Information - 11 July 1996

Drinking Water Standards

The Commission is taking the UK to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for not fully implementing the drinking water Directive. The reasons are, first, that some of the drinking water standards, which came mandatory in 1985, are still not being met in the UK, and second, that the system of water company "undertaking", used where standards are not being met, are not compatible with the Directive, the Commission believes. The undertakings cannot be enforce by individuals who may be affected by drinking water that does not meet the standards. The main problem in meeting the standards relates to the pesticides parameter, particularly in drinking water supplied to the population in the Greater London area.

The Commission has been trying to reach a settlement with the UK government since it first opened the case in 1991. However, last month the UK government informed the Commission that it could not accept the Commission's proposals for ending the dispute. The Commission has spared no efforts to reach a settlement, Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard said, but it is unacceptable that the UK is unwilling to ensure the legally enforceable rights for its citizens to drinking water of a quality that meets EU standards, eleven years after the Directive came into force.

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