Agency's first "less sensitive area" ruling adds £20m to sewage bill

The Environment Agency has rejected proposals for reduced standards of treatment at Northumbrian Water's Hendon sewage works in Sunderland. The decision, the Agency's first on the "less sensitive area" (LSA) provisions of the 1991 EC Directive on urban wastewater treatment, means that the company will have to provide secondary treatment at an extra cost of £20 million. The ruling suggests that the Agency may take a tough line on many similar decisions to come.

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