Court quashes Gummer's decisions on urban wastewater Directive

In the first court decision on the 1991 EC Directive on urban wastewater treatment, the High Court has overturned two designations made by the Environment Secretary when implementing the Directive. R v Secretary of State for the Environment ex parte Kingston-upon-Hull City Council and R v Secretary of State ex parte Bristol City Council and Woodspring District Council (Divisional Court, High Court, 26 January 1996) arose out of his decision in May 1994 that the Humber and Severn Bridges represented the outer limits of the two estuaries for the purposes of the Directive. The Court held that he had applied the wrong legal test by taking into account economic considerations in making the designations. The decision implies that secondary treatment of sewage effluent will now be required,

with considerable financial implications for sewerage undertakers and their customers.

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