§ Mr. John Garrett
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his answer of 13 March, he will provide technical details of the more stringent basis upon which designated British bathing waters were evaluated in 1988 in relation to that upon which they were evaluated in 1987.
§ Mr. Moynihan
[holding answer 22 March 1989]: The results of the 1988 survey have been reported on the basis of the strict requirements for 95 per cent. compliance specified by the directive. On this basis, a water is assessed as complying with the directive providing that no more than one sample in 20 exceeds the mandatory coliform standards. Previously, with our relatively short bathing season and the minimum sampling frequency specified in the directive, authorities generally took about 12 samples and we allowed one failure before a water was assessed as failing. The European Commission indicated that the strict interpretation of 95 per cent. compliance should be adopted. To this end, the Department asked that authorities increase their sampling frequency to ensure that a water did not fail merely because of a single high sample.