Letter from Baroness Young of Old Scone,
Chief Executive, Environment Agency to the Clerk of the Committee
I refer to the copy you kindly sent us of a
letter of March 13 from Committee from the Foundation for Water
We disagree with the Foundation for Water Research
conclusions. We are absolutely committed to delivery of the Water
Framework Directive, to involving stakeholders who can act to
deliver the requirement of the directive, and strongly believe
we will achieve legal compliance with the participation requirements
of the Directive.
We have set up River Basin Liaison Panels but
are not proposing to set up further formal consultative groups,
preferring to target our limited resources on engagement with
appropriate deliverers who will be able to tackle the key issues
identified within each river basin.
We piloted the Common Implementation Strategy
guidance in 2003 in the Ribble catchment in north west England.
We found that stakeholders wanted to move from talking to delivery,
and did not want duplication of existing engagement processes
We have a long-standing and extensive engagement
programme to support our day to day activities, and where there
are important local issues we always set out to engage with those
affected. Within our proposals for River Basin Planning we've
made it clear we will set up further local consultation where
The Ribble pilot also gave us practical evidence
for the ideal shape of River Basin Liaison Panels. We designed
these to involve all the sectors contributing to delivery, including
consumers (Consumer Council for Water is represented on all panels),
environmental NGOs and local authorities. The panels have worked
with us to produce the first consultation document required by
the Directive, published in December 2006. This consultation,
called Working Together, puts forward our proposed options
for the amount and form of engagement during the River Basin Planning
The consultation closes in June 2007 and our
plans for engagement will be finalised when we have considered
all the responses.
I would suggest that Mr Woods or the Foundation
for Water Research should be encouraged to respond to our Working
Together consultation. This will allow them to formally make
their views known to both us and the public.
16 April 2007