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Water: Standards

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 3166, tabled on 18 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve water quality in shellfishing areas to meet class A standards.

Answered on

26 May 2021

A review of shellfish waters undertaken by the Food Standards Agency has resulted in 15 sites securing seasonal Class A status for between three and ten months of the year, and an additional 3 harvesting areas were upgraded to a year-round Class A status. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is also considering changes to the classification system to ensure that classifications are awarded in a proportionate and pragmatic way while continuing to ensure high levels of public health protection. The FSA’s focus is on proposals that could impact harvesting areas that would allow more businesses to export live bivalve molluscs to the EU from Class A waters.

Longer term improvements to the quality of shellfish waters are set out in Environment Agency’s Shellfish Action Plans. The EA assesses the reason for waters not achieving the microbial standard and develops a programme of appropriate measures to address the failures. These improvement measures are then taken forward by working with water companies and the agricultural sector in the relevant catchment.