Reasons for the proposal
The exploitation and marketing of bottled waters is currently controlled by The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water Regulations 1999. These Regulations transpose Directive 80/777/EEC (as amended by Directive 96/70/EC) and Directive 80/778/EEC. Directive 80/778/EEC is in the process of being replaced by Directive 98/83/EC which came into force on the 25th December 1998. It is necessary for the provisions of Directive 98/83 to be transposed into UK legislation.
The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) is transposing the provisions of Directive 98/83EC as it applies to water supplied to premises, while the Food Standards Agency is transposing those provisions which cover bottled waters.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be producing separate regulations and consulting separately on their proposals.
Date of compliance with the amendments to the Regulations
By virtue of Directive 98/83, spring water and bottled drinking water will have to comply with changes in Schedule 3 of the Regulations from the 25th December 2003. (This date is the same as that for compliance with most of the new limits in the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2000). Until then, the corresponding provisions in Schedule 3 of the 1999 Regulations (which implement requirements of Directive 80/778) will continue to apply. The optional claim for suitability for infant feeding will be available from the time that the Regulations come into force.
The amendments will achieve the following objectives:
Options regarding implementation of Directive 98/83/EC and the remaining provisions of Directive 80/777/EEC are set out in paragraph 6 of the Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment available on the FSA website. Reasons for the amendments proposed are discussed in detail in Annex 1 (see FSA web pages).
There will be public health benefits from setting new limits for certain substances in bottled waters and the Regulations will enable industry to inform consumers when waters are suitable for infant feeding. In addition, amendments to the legislation will enable enforcement of spring water provisions at the bottling stage and of bottled drinking water provisions in relation to the sale of labelled bottled drinking water.
Implementation of the new regulations will impose minimal financial costs on exploiters and producers of bottled waters, but is likely to increase costs for some Local Authorities. The benefits and costs of implementing the amendments to the Regulations are discussed in more detail in sections G - J of the Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment (see FSA website).
Copies of the draft Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2001 and the Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment are available.
The FSA would welcome comments on the draft Regulations and, in particular, on:-
Responses to this consultation will be taken into account when we consider whether the draft Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2001 need to be modified before they are made.