Wednesday, 14 May 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
137. Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the progress which has been made with regard to the commitment given in An Agreed Programme for Government to significantly increase the number of blue flag beaches and to bring designated bathing places up to the required EU standard. [12972/03]
The scheme is operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education, a non-governmental organisation. In Ireland it is administered by An Taisce. The awarding or withdrawal of a Blue Flag is decided by FEE. My Department provides grant aid to An Taisce as a contribution towards the administration expenses of the scheme in Ireland. My Department has requested a report from An Taisce on options and measures which might be pursued for increasing the number of flags awarded to bathing areas in Ireland. An Taisce is currently undertaking research in the matter and results are expected in June.
The major programme of investment being promoted by my Department on urban waste water treatment in coastal areas will have a significant positive effect on the quality of bathing waters in the surrounding areas, their associated designated bathing areas. It could also lead to an increase in the number of flags awarded. Under this ongoing programme we are on target for full compliance with the 2005 requirements of the EU Urban Wastewater Directive. It will eliminate untreated sewage discharges from all coastal towns with a population equivalent to 2,000 or more.
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