In the last week the draft proposal for the revised Bathing Water Directive, landed on the doormats of all interested parties, marking the start of the official consultation process on the Directive. With high hopes for a piece of legislation that will protect all water users from the risks associated with sewage polluted water, SAS are stoked to announce that the Commissions proposal actually goes some way towards doing the job!
Surfers Against Sewage have been pushing for changes in the legislation for years, saying that the old Directive is outdated, does not protect public health and does not take into account water users other than bathers. In addition to lobbying the House of Commons over the Directive, SAS have been building a ‘Water Alliance’, pulling together the governing bodies of all water sports and asking for their support in the campaign. 12 governing bodies have already signed up, representing thousands of water users.
SAS have three main proposals for the Directive:
A broadening of the concept of bathing waters to incorporate those areas that are actively promoted for water sports other than bathing (as the word is traditionally interpreted).
More accessible information both on location at beaches and via the internet; to enable the public to make an informed choice about where they are going in the water.
A single standard that is adequate to protect health.
All three proposals have been built into the Directive in some way. There is clear emphasis on the provision of information, proposals for a single microbiological standard; a standard that is more relevant than those currently in place and a re-interpretation of the word ‘bathing’, to cover activities where risk of ingestion of water is a possibility. Less of an emphasis will be placed on monitoring and more on practical management actions to minimise risks — a much more realistic approach!
It is not all perfect and there are certain points needing clarification, but over the next few months SAS will put their case to the European Commission as part of the official consultation process and then to the European Parliament. It is essential that SAS have the evidence to show the European Parliament that water users don’t just use waters that bathers frequent. The Parliament have the power to alter the proposal from the Commission, so SAS must show them why the new proposed approach is so much better than the old one.
For further information please contact Vicky Garner or James Hendy on +44 1872 553001 or see the website st http://www.sas.org.uk
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