Select Committee on European Union Twenty-Seventh Report


CHAPTER 3: Conclusions and Recommendations

53.  We trust that Defra, the Devolved Administrations and the three Agencies will make all possible efforts to implement their obligations according to the schedule and the substance of the Water Framework Directive. (Paragraph 15)

54.  We also urge the Government to take action on the matters raised by the Commission in its Report on the implementation thus far of the Water Framework Directive. (Paragraph 16)

55.  We note the importance of effective co-operation between the Devolved Administrations and are pleased to hear that such co-operation appears to be taking place. (Paragraph 17)

56.  We hope that the work involved in arriving at a satisfactory definition of "good status" will be completed in a timely manner in order that all concerned can make the necessary preparations. (Paragraph 22)

57.  We urge the Government to clarify as soon as possible what are considered to be disproportionate costs for the purposes of Article 4. We consider too that the flexibility provision must be applied responsibly, recalling that it provides a temporary derogation rather than a long term exemption. (Paragraph 26)

58.  The Government should work more closely with local authorities and ensure that local authorities have the necessary guidance in order to fulfil their role in relation to the Water Framework Directive, particularly with regard to local planning policies. (Paragraph 31)

59.  The agricultural industry has a key role to play in ensuring the success of the Water Framework Directive. We urge the Government to work closely with the agricultural industry to overcome potential obstacles, including diffuse pollution, to the meeting of the Water Framework Directive's objectives. (Paragraph 36)

60.  We welcome the fact that, since both Defra and the Environment Agency gave oral evidence to us, the former has launched a public consultation on both diffuse pollution and on hydromorphology. (Paragraph 37)

61.  On the basis of the evidence provided by Defra and the Environment Agency and in view of the Report by the European Commission, we conclude that the public participation obligations prescribed in the Water Framework Directive are being met. Nevertheless, we consider it important that this aspect should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that all those wishing to participate are able to do so in an informed manner. (Paragraph 41)

62.  We believe that the approach taken by Defra and the Environment Agency should be driven by the principle that the greater the public participation over and above the legal requirements, the greater the likelihood of success in implementing the Water Framework Directive. (Paragraph 42)

63.  We agree that a proportional approach must be taken to the new Priority Substances Directive. In line with the Water Framework Directive, it is appropriate to apply to the Priority Substances Directive the flexibility enshrined within Article 4 of the Water Framework Directive. (Paragraph 51)

64.  Our assessment of the implementation of the Framework Directive thus far indicates that the standards laid down must be transposable into reality, taking into account the complexities of delivering this legislation. We hope that the experience gained from implementing the first stages of the Water Framework Directive will provide a constructive input into the negotiations taking place in relation to the new Daughter Directive. (Paragraph 52)

65.  We are concerned that the general level of information provided by the Member States in relation to priority substances has been weak, and consider that the speedy adoption of the Priority Substances Directive will strengthen implementation of legislation in this area. (Paragraph 53)


 
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