[In the media] England won’t adopt EU river pollution rules for pharma and cosmetic firms

EU lawmakers have agreed to update the urban waste water treatment (UWWT) directive to tighten restrictions on water pollution. The directive creates new obligations to remove agricultural waste and sewage from waterways and extends the “polluter pays” principle to pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies to contribute to the cost of treating wastewaters caused by chemical pollution.

However, the UK Government has stated it will not mirror these measures, causing environmental campaigners to accuse the move of failing to match the level of ambition shown by Brussels. In addition, England and Wales could also diverge from other parts of the UK, as Northern Ireland will be obliged to keep the same environmental standards as the Republic of Ireland under the Windsor Framework, and Scotland is proposing their own regulations to keep pace with the European Union.

Head of Environmental Policy at IEEP UK, Michael Nicholson, said to the Guardian:

If the updated EU law on wastewater treatment comes into force in the next few months, as is likely, this would be a major step forward in tackling pollution from cosmetic and pharmaceutical products which enter our rivers and seas and endanger public health and aquatic life alike. It would also open up a significant divergence with the approach taken to clean wastewaters in the UK. The UK should take note and strongly consider following suit.

Read more on the UWWTD and the potential for divergence in the Guardian’s reporting.

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