New "sensitive area" designations may not be enough

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Scottish Executive moved to satisfy the European Commission in March by designating 189 coastal bathing areas as "sensitive areas" under the 1991 EU Directive on urban wastewater treatment. The designations involve no new spending by the water industry, but the Government now faces a choice between proceedings before the European Court of Justice and making further designations which will push up water bills before 2004.

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