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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 23 January 2006

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EU puts its stamp on the UK

SENSIBLE and proportional Bathing Water Directive set to become law within 2 years.  Conservative MEPs succeed in keeping UK water bills down and protecting tourism.

Updated EU rules regulating the quality of bathing water will no longer pose a threat to the British tourist industry or push water bills through the roof, Sir Robert Atkins MEP, has said this week after the European Parliament gave its final approval to the directive.

The directive simplifies and updates existing legislation from 1976. Some MEPs, mainly from the Green Group had attempted to extend the scope of the directive to include vast swathes of sea, rivers and lakes which would be used only for recreational purposes such as windsurfing and canoeing. The costs of testing these recreational waters would have been passed down to consumers through much higher water bills.

Bathing water will now be ranked in 3 categories of cleanliness - 'excellent', 'good' and 'sufficient'. Conservative MEPs fought off an attempt to delete the 'sufficient' category from the directive. This would have caused a number of UK beaches to fail to meet the 'good' standard despite being safe for bathers. The beaches could have subsequently lost their blue flag status with a notable impact on tourist revenues for the area.

Sir Robert said:- "The European Parliament's vote today means that further astronomical water bill rises in Britain have been avoided and damaging downgrades in bathing beach quality designations are off the agenda.  The directive we have helped negotiate with EU Ministers is sensible and proportional. We need clean beaches in the UK but we can do so at a reasonable cost. Water companies have already spent billions of pounds cleaning our beaches and standards are much better. However, we must remember that the majority of people use our beaches only a few times each year and it is not sensible to ask everyone to suffer increases in their water bills to pay for an unnecessary army of recreational water inspectors."

Kung Hey Fat Choi!

LIVERPOOL'S one-stop culture shop is gearing up for Chinese New Year.  The 08 Place in Whitechapel will host a spectacular Chinese Unicorn dance this Saturday in the build-up to the city's Chinese New Year celebrations.

2 Unicorns will perform the colourful dance to the stirring beat of traditional drums. The Chinese Unicorn is a mythical creature, said to be a good omen that brings good luck and fortune for the future. The dance is often performed at New Year, and during other special events and celebrations.

Cllr Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said:- "Liverpool is home to one of the oldest established Chinese communities in Europe, and Chinese traditions are an integral part of the city's cultural fabric.  The Chinese New Year celebrations are a highlight of Liverpool's annual events calendar, and a chance for the whole city to celebrate the diversity and vitality of our communities."

The dance has been organised by Wah Sing Chinese Community Centre in conjunction with the Liverpool Culture Company. It will be performed by the UK Chinese Unicorn Arts Academy.

Professor Drummond Bone, Chairman of the Liverpool Culture Company, said:- "The 08 Place is fast becoming established as one of the city's creative hubs, so it is a fitting venue for cultural displays and events like this.  Saturday's festivities will be an exciting preview to Liverpool's main Chinese New Year celebrations which take place the following weekend."

Liverpool's main Chinese New Year celebrations take place on Sunday 29 January. The action gets underway at 11am at the Chinese Arch on Nelson Street, with thousands expected to turn out to see Dragon, Unicorn and Lion dancing, firecracker performances and Tai Chi demonstrations.

It is one of a number of events taking place to celebrate Chinese New Year. On Monday 23 January, Wah Sing Chinese Community Centre will hosting a Feng Shui and Chinese Horoscopes Talk at LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts), starting at 6.30pm. Admission is £3. For more information contact: Liverpool Chinatown Business Association, Tel - (0151) 709 3221, Mobile - 07703537728, or email -

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