Untreated waste water can be contaminated with harmful bacteria presenting a risk to human health.
Anneliese Dodds MEP has therefore welcomed the European Investment Bank'a offer of a ten year loan to Southern Water for better treatment of waste water across the South East of England.
Anneliese said: "It's great that provisional funding for this has been agreed. The loan should mean that Southern Water can now get a grip of this problem, and potential health risks can be dealt with. It is unfortunate that it has taken so long for the problem to be fixed, but I welcome any moves to protect people and the environment in the South East."
EU legislation on urban waste water treatment dates back to 1991, with long lead times for the implementation deadlines. Member States had until the end of 1998 to ensure stringent treatment for wastewater from agglomerations discharging into sensitive areas. They had until the end of 2000 to ensure appropriate treatment from large agglomerations discharging into undesignated waters and until the end of 2005 for discharges from medium-sized agglomerations and discharges to freshwater and estuaries from small agglomerations. However, Winchester was one of 18 towns in the UK highlighted by the European Commission as failing to meet these EU standards.