The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (England) Regulations 2016

Closed 30 Oct 2015

Opened 2 Oct 2015

Overview

This consultation seeks views on proposals to consolidate and update existing legislation: The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (England) Regulations 2007, as amended (the 2007 Regulations),  governing the exploitation, bottling and marketing of natural mineral water, spring water and other bottled drinking water.  The following measures are being discussed:

• Consolidation of existing legislation which has been amended a number of times to reflect changes made by EU legislation;
• Removal of unnecessary burdens on business which are not laid down in the overarching EU legislation (referred to as “gold plating”)
• Replacement of criminal offences with administrative sanctions (i.e. improvement notices) to enable local authorities to take a more proportionate enforcement approach; and
• Application of new monitoring requirements for radioactive substances specified in Directive 2013/51/EURATOM

The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (England) Regulations 2016 (the 2016 Regulations) will revoke the 2007 Regulations when they come into force in early 2016. 

The responses you provide will assist in the final drafting of the 2016 Regulations covering bottled drinking water in England; associated guidance; and will check the accuracy of various assumptions that have been made during the preparation of impact assessment documents. 
 

Why We Are Consulting

In 2010 Food Composition and Standards Legislation in England became Defra’s responsibility. Shortly after, in 2011 the Coalition Government committed to reducing the burden that legislation can impose on stakeholders by publishing a list of deregulatory measures in England as part of “The Red Tape Challenge” (RTC). 

In relation to the 2007 Regulations, this meant consolidating them so that businesses only need to refer to one set of regulations; and removing a national measure on the minimum calcium content of bottled drinking waters which have been softened or desalinated (as there is no longer a scientific evidence base for this measure and it is therefore considered a regulatory burden to industry). 

A number of additional proposals are suggested in the consultation document, aimed at streamlining the 2016 Regulations with regards to sampling and appeal rights for the process of recognising a source for the production of natural mineral water, as well as ensuring a more proportionate enforcement regime.  We would value your considered responses so that we may establish whether our proposals are appropriate or not. 

The 2016 Regulations will  also transpose new requirements for businesses to test and monitor for radioactive substances in drinking water in order to protect public health.  Directive 2013/51/Euratom imposes new requirements on Member States to:
• ensure that monitoring for radon and tritium is undertaken and that the Indicative Dose is calculated for drinking water, (except in the instance that it is established that any of the radioactive substances are not likely to be present; or where representative surveys, monitoring data or other reliable information indicate that the radioactive substances will remain below their parametric values);
• undertake monitoring in accordance with specified minimum frequencies for radioactive substances where it has been established that monitoring is required;
• define the frequency of monitoring for natural radionuclides where it is demonstrated that the concentration is stable; 
• check whether the values of radioactive substances in drinking water comply with the parametric values stipulated in the Directive;
• (in the event of non-compliance with the parametric values for radioactive substances) assess whether that non-compliance poses a risk to human health which requires action by further investigation of artificial and naturally occurring radionuclides and take remedial action where necessary to improve the quality of the water in order to protect human health.

The Euratom Directive contains an exemption which allows Member States not to monitor for substances which are likely to stay below prescribed parametric values in a given supply of water over a certain period of time.  The relating consultation questions seek comment in relation to guidance;  the proposals for minimum frequencies for monitoring; the period of time for exemption; and the list of radionuclides for further investigation.
 

What Happens Next

A summary of the responses to this consultation will be published and placed on the Government websites at www.gov.uk/defra

This summary will include a list of names and organisations that responded but not personal names, addresses or other contact details.
If you do not want your response - including your name, contact details and any other personal information - to be publicly available, please state this clearly in writing when you email your response to the consultation. Please note, if your computer automatically includes a confidentiality disclaimer, that won’t count as a confidentiality request.

Please explain why you need to keep details confidential. We will take your reasons into account if someone asks for this information under freedom of information legislation. But, because of the law, we cannot promise that we will always be able to keep those details confidential.

Please note, this consultation relates to England only.  

Audiences

  • Food Business Operators
  • Food Industry
  • Government Departments
  • Local Authorities
  • Consumer Groups
  • SME businesses
  • Trading Standards Officers
  • Environmental Health Officers

Interests

  • Food standards