EC to take UK, Sweden and Spain to Court over bathing water quality

The European Commission (EC) is to take the United Kingdom and Sweden to the Court of Justice for poor bathing water quality, and has sent a second warning letter to Spain for failure to conform to the judgement of the European Court of Justice regarding a number of inshore bathing waters.

The Bathing Water Quality Directive aims to ensure that such waters meet minimum quality criteria by establishing a set of guidelines and binding standards for a range of key parameters such as whether faecal indicator bacteria are present. The Directive requires member states to carry out regular monitoring of water quality, with the deadline for UK and Spanish compliance being 1985, and 1995 in the case of Sweden, when they joined the European Union.

“As the Commission has indicated on numerous occasions, we are serious about ensuring bathing water quality compliance in all Member States,” said Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom.

The Court of Justice declared in February 1998, that Spain had failed to conform with the limit values set in the Bathing Water Quality Directive for a number of inshore bathing waters, and the Commission is currently not convinced that Spain is taking all the measures necessary to comply with this judgement.

As well as its failure to comply with bathing water standards, Sweden is also accused of failing to sample bathing water correctly.

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