The UK Drinking Water Inspectorate has found that the quality of tap water in Britain is as high as it has ever been. The inspectorate's research found that the number of samples which failed to meet strict industry standards had fallen dramatically.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate reported that 99.86% of the 2.8m tests it carried out in 2001 met the required standard. In 2001, the number of samples failing to meet the standard was 4,054, against around 50,000 in 1992.

The news will be of interest to marketers of bottled waters which have seen sales rise sharply in recent years. UK consumers currently spend some £700m a year on bottled water and that figure is expected to double by the year 2005.

Interestingly, the Drinking Water Inspectorate is even encouraging some water companies to bottle their water and market it.