Royal Commission seeks more precautionary approach to water quality

The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) took six years to produce its latest report, on freshwater quality.1 Some may complain that it contains little fresh thinking. But the report urges less reliance on the capacity of the environment to deal with waste, and more intensive monitoring and openness in reporting on water quality. Together the recommendations add up to a radically more protective approach to environmental protection.

The last three years saw the privatisation of the water authorities and the birth of the National Rivers Authority (NRA). So much attention has been directed towards water issues over this period that it is doubtful whether there is anything original left to say on water and the environment.

The RCEP's report is not therefore a major source of new ideas, but a synthesis pulling together many thoughts about the future improvement of the wa

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