31/10/2013 13:42 GMT | Updated 31/10/2013 13:45 GMT

Toilet Flushing EU Directive Could Affect British Cisterns, Branded 'Money Down The Pan'

Bog standard

Flushing toilets should be the same across the continent, European Commission bosses have declared.

In a move almost certain to feature in the next Ukip manifesto, thousands of pounds have been spent on a report to propose a standard flushing size - which could affect Britain's cisterns.

The study, called 'Development of EU Ecolabel Criteria for Flushing Toilets and Urinals', proposes limits of five litres for lavatories and one litre for urinals, The Times revealed.


This is lower than the limit in the UK, where cisterns contain more water than anywhere else in Europe, the report found.

toilet report

Yes, the report does exist

Unsurprisingly, the £72,000 study has provided plenty of material for eurosceptics.

Paul Nuttall, deputy leader of the UK Independence Party, told the Mail: "They admit in their report that there are significant cultural differences in latrine etiquette.

'The bottom line is they are talking about red-tape all the time but instead we are spending two and a half years on a 60-page report to try and harmonise loo behaviour amongst the peoples of Europe

'Surely what goes on behind the bathroom door should be left to the people who are behind it. It is money down the pan."

On the other hand, as explained by the European Commission in its characteristically snappy tone:

Establishing ecological criteria for flushing toilets and urinals and promoting appropriately the awarded products, if accepted by a wider range of producers and users, will contribute to greener product purchases, which shall reduce the consumption of water. Besides, this should also result in other environmental benefits, like lower water pollution and eutrophication (in relation with wastewater), energy saving and lower related air emissions (in relation with water supply, wastewater treatment and product production), lower resource consumption and potentially higher resource efficiency management (in relation with product materials, longevity and recyclability issues), etc. Finally, the environmentally friendlier products should also bring private and public customers direct cost savings (e.g. lower water bills)

As well as the size of cisterns, the researchers also looked into our personal flushing habits.

"User behaviour is also a crucial aspect and must be without any doubts emphasised," the report said.

They found that the UK flushes more than any other EU nation, The Times reported, with a total of 1,125 million cubic metres of water used by domestic lavatories in 2010.

EU President José Manuel Barroso recently promised to cut back on red tape and bureaucratic regulations.