SNP MEP Condemns 15 Year Delay On Waste Water Treatment In Lerwick

15 July 2005
European commission launches legal action

The SNP have today offered a cautious welcome to news that the UK government is to face legal action in the European Court of Justice over its failure to provide adequate waste water treatment for the people of Lerwick.

The SNPs Alyn Smith MEP and Rob Gibson MSP highlighted, in April 2005, the 15 year delay in upgrading or building a new treatment plant for Lerwick. At that time Mr Gibson was assured by the Scottish Executive that a plant would be completed in 2006 that was compliant with the law.

It was also revealed that the Executive had discussed redesignating the waters around Shetland as less sensitive.

Speaking after the Commission announced the decision to refer the matter to the courts Mr Smith said

"I would rather this issue had never had to go this far. The UK Government and Scottish Executive have had plenty of time to act. There is no explanation for the delay, and the Commission are obviously not happy with the UK's excuses.

"Not only is it 15 years since the legislation was enacted, it is five years since the deadline and they are still not meeting the standards. The Executive really needs to get a grip on this legislation. If they have managed to comply in the rest of Scotland, why can't they do it in Lerwick. "

The Commission announced today (15th July) that the issue has been referred to the European Court of Justice. This follows two written warnings to the UK government. Water treatment in four areas of Northern Ireland and three areas in England are also failing to meet European standards.