Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs whether he will make it policy to introduce new metrics to measure improvements in individual aspects of water quality in (i) rivers; and (ii) other inland freshwater bodies.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: Water quality metrics are set out in legislation under the Water Framework Directive (Classification, Priority Substances and Shellfish Waters) Regulations (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2015. They are in place for both i) rivers and ii) other inland freshwater bodies such as lakes and show both improvements and deterioration in individual aspects of water quality. Metrics are subject to review based on scientific advice and technical improvements in assessment method.
The policy of my Department remains that new metrics will be introduced when the underlying scientific advice supports this. The normal legislative and consultation processes will be followed.