We use standards and targets to help us protect and improve water quality.
By calculating the potential impacts of industry and agriculture on the environment we are able to set standards and targets. For example, to work out the conditions we must impose on discharges to protect water quality.
They also help us to check national progress in protecting water quality and work out where action is needed.
Standards aim to:
- protect wildlife and nature
- control risks to the quality of water abstracted to supply our homes or irrigate crops
- make sure that our enjoyment of things like bathing, angling and boating are as safe as possible
Most of the standards (for example those concerning bathing waters, habitats, shellfish and freshwater fish) support the requirements of European Directives. Others, like river quality objectives, stem from special requirements in England and Wales.
- Chemical standards database
This database provides access to chemical standards used by the Environment Agency (please note that you will need to register to use the database if you are not an Environment Agency employee).