Water bills could reach 250 pounds a year

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WATER BILLS could rise to an average pounds 250 a year by the end of the decade compared with pounds 169 last year because of stringent regulations on water quality, according to the watchdog Ofwat, writes Mary Fagan.

A customer survey by Ofwat shows that many people are concerned that rules governing water standards - most of which result from directives by the European Commission - may not be scientifically justified.

Others said that costs and benefits of regulations were not weighed up properly. Overall, more than half are seriously concerned whether they can afford improvements in standards.

Ian Byatt, director general of Ofwat, has asked the Government for its view on spiralling water bills. He said that some customers believe that European standards on quality, which mean massive investment by water companies, should be re- evaluated in relation to the UK.