Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Session 2002-03
19 March 2003 WATER FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE:
Committee Publishes Report


Session 2002-03
19 March 2003 WATER FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE:
Committee Publishes Report

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has today published a Report on the Water Framework Directive (Fourth Report of the Committee of Session 2002-03, HC 130-I).

The Report follows an extensive inquiry by the Committee during the latter part of 2002, during which it took evidence from a wide range of interested parties, and also met European Commission officials in Brussels.

The Committee has reached a number of detailed conclusions about the Directive, and has made recommendations to Government and others.  Its principal conclusions are that a great deal of scientific work is needed now and in the future to assess the quality of waters in the United Kingdom; and that administrative structures need to be put in place to ensure that policies and activities relating to planning, flood control and agriculture in particular are co-ordinated with the implementation of the Directive.  Above all, the Committee urges the Government to act with far greater urgency in preparing for implementation of the Water Framework Directive.

On publication of the Report, the Chairman of the Committee, Rt Hon David Curry MP, said:

"The Water Framework Directive is a highly important piece of legislation.  It will affect matters such as planning and flood control measures which go far beyond the usual mechanisms to improve water quality.  And by addressing the problem of diffuse pollution it is likely to have a significant impact on agriculture in particular.

"Yet the Government does not seem to realise quite how important the Directive is.  We strongly urge it to treat it with the seriousness it deserves.  The complexity of the legislation means that preparations are needed now.  Misplaced over-sensitivity about 'gold-plating' European legislation should not mean that the Directive is implemented too late and half-heartedly."

A press conference to launch the Report was held at 2.00 pm on 19 March at Westminster.

The Report will be posted on the internet at approximately 3.30 pm on 19 March, and will be accessible via the Committee's homepage.




Further details of the Committee, including its current membership, can be found on our homepage. Information about the Committee can also be obtained from 020 7219 3262.