ECRR Response to the Public Consultation to inform the Fitness Check of the EU Water Framework Directives and related Directives.

ECRR Response to the Public Consultation to inform the Fitness Check of the EU Water Framework Directives and related Directives.

The ECRR is an independent Association, free to voice opinions, irrespective of the interest of partners and supporters. ECRR's main review conclusions are:

  • It is generally not the WFD and RBMP instrument causing problems in achieving results.
  • The aspect that fails is the implementation at the local, regional and national levels.
  • Failing is often based on conflicting objectives, lack of policy coherence or lack of political willingness and understanding.
  • ECRR remains very supportive of the WFD and does not want to see it or its ambitions weakened.
  • The WFD fits very well with the concept and vision of river restoration promoted by the ECRR.
  • This concept and vision fits very well with the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aim to restore degraded and destroyed ecosystems.
  • It is likely if the requirements for the WFD are lowered, then the status of rivers will not be subject to as many restoration actions at either a national or EU scale.

Download the full report: ECRR Submission to WFD Review 2010.3.19.pdf

ECRR Concluding Statements

ECRR supports the aim and ambition of the Water Framework directive. ECRR does not wish to see it diluted or reduced in its scope. ECRR is confident that much of the change in water governance and management across Europe over the past 20 years would not have taken place, been slower and delayed and not as effective without the WFD.

ECRR has highlighted for different themes where there are issues and where improvements can be made by the European Commission, by national governments and by ministries.

ECRR has shown that river continuity restoration urgently needs EU backing to integrate it into national strategies that underpin the ambitions of the WFD and the implementation of RBMP’s.  This should specifically include the removal of obsolete dams and barriers.

ECRR has reported the ongoing tensions between Renewable Energy and WFD targets in relation to hydropower.  Cross-policy EU guidance is needed to ensure the proper regulation and correct balance between sustainable hydropower generation and a healthy natural river environment.

ECRR has indicated the progress and shortcomings of different approaches to water governance at the national and local levels.  The successes of some countries should be shared and guidance produced to aid other countries to better interpret and implement truly meaningful and engaging local community planning and problem solving.

ECRR has highlighted the impact of WFD in supporting and creating more and better transboundary cooperation and action.  Existing calls to increase and extend this success should be actioned.

ECRR has responded across the various EU directives, policies and strategies that relate to the water environment. We have shown that there are many areas where clarity and better integration would result in the achievement of greater benefits, and ensure a more sustainable natural and built environment for future generations.

ECRR supports the ‘one-out-all-out’ tough target, and has suggested the need for more transparent and positive reporting of positive progress towards the aims and goals of the WFD. This is to ensure that implementation effort is clearly, visibly and politically seen to be delivering the significant (but gradual) improvement to our water environment.