The quality of water intended for human consumption

On 7 March, the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee considered a Proposal to recast an existing Directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption

As the existing EU Directive was written over 20 years ago, the European Commission is proposing a series of amendments to bring it in line with current health advice and policy priorities.

Their proposed changes include updating the minimum standards for drinking water, introducing more comprehensive risk assessment and monitoring of water quality along the whole water supply chain, ensuring vulnerable people have access to safe drinking water and requiring information to be provided to the public and consumers.

In their Explanatory Memorandum, the Government said that it was still considering the impact of this Proposal. The Committee therefore decided to write to the Minister to ask for more details about the scale of change that introducing these new measures would require in the UK and the likely costs associated with that.

Update: on 25 April 2018, Members considered the Minister’s response to their letter. They noted that the Government is still assessing the likely impact of the Proposal and has yet to finalise their position on the different elements in it. The Committee wrote back to the Minister asking to be kept updated, and for some further details on their position.

Update: on 6 June 2018, Members considered the Minister’s latest reply. A number of concerns remained unanswered, so the Committee wrote back to request a more substantive response.

Update: on 5 September 2018, Members considered the Minister’s latest reply, which provided an update on the negotiations at the EU on the draft Proposal. The Committee noted the progress that had been made, and asked for further updates in due course. 

Update: on 17 October 2018, the Committee considered the Minister's latest letter and wrote back to request further updates.

Update: on 14 November 2018, the Committee considered the Minister’s latest letter. She explains that a revised text of the Proposal is being produced, and that she is waiting for that to determine whether the UK’s concerns over the Proposal have been met. The Committee wrote back and ask to be updated once the revised text was received.

Update: On 27 February 2019, the Committee considered the Minister’s latest letters. Members noted that the text of the Proposal was still changing and that there had been a number of amendments that modified the text in ways that addressed many of the UK Government’s concerns. On that basis, the Committee granted the Minister a waiver to allow her to participate in an upcoming vote on the Proposal, but also asked her to write back and provide an update on what is agreed.

Update: on 12 June, the Committee reviewed the Minister’s reply. Members noted that compromises had been reached on most areas, so that the UK Government was willing to support the draft text. The letter also explained, however, that further disagreements between Member States and the EU institutions were possible during the next stage of negotiations and so the Committee decided to retain the Proposal under scrutiny and asked to be kept updated. 

Letters to the Minister

Letter from the Minister

Related documents

Follow the committee on...

TwitterTwitter - keep up to date with the European Union Committee

The scrutiny process

Find out more about the scrutiny of EU documents: