Potential Future Legal Actions
The Commission wants to challenge a number of EU countries over climate change measures, and may take action against the UK over the way it deals with urban wastewater.
The European Commission has also announced that it may take legal action against the UK regarding failures to implement the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (Directive 91/271/EEC). The UK has been served with a final warning due to alleged breaches of the UWWT Directive, due to insufficient collection and treatment facilities having been installed within London, Torbay, Whitburn and Kilbarchan, resulting in untreated urban waste water being discharged directly into rivers or sea, causing pollution of the environment and health hazards. In each case, existing facilities offer insufficient capacity to deal with flows of urban waste water, with overflow systems being used. The frequency of overflows can in certain cases exceed 80 times per year, resulting in millions of cubic meters of untreated waste water being released. The UK received first written warnings for these violations in April 2003 (with respect to Torbay, Whitburn and Kilbarchan) and March 2005 (with respect to London). Following the second written warning having been issued, depending on the UK's response, the case may ultimately end up before the European Court of Justice (ECJ).