Implementation of the Water Framework Directive and Floods Directive

On 24 April 2019, the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee considered a Report on how well two EU Directives on water are being implemented.

The Water Framework Directive was adopted in October 2000. Its aim was to achieve "good status" for all surface and groundwater by 2015, but allowed for two extension periods (to 2021 and then to 2027). The Floods Directive came into force in November 2007 and requires Member States to assess and map flood risks, and then take measures to reduce these risks.

In relation to the Water Framework Directive, the Report finds a number of gaps in Member States' monitoring of water quality, and a widespread use of exemptions that put the Directive’s objective at risk. On the Floods Directive, it finds significant variation in Member States plans, which will make it difficult to assess progress, and that many plans are not fully costed and funded.

The Report includes detailed annexes on each Member State's progress. It makes a number of recommendations to the UK, and raises a significant number of concerns about the UK's implementation of the Water Framework Directive. The UK Government, in its Explanatory Memorandum, states that it does not believe the Commission's assessment to be robust. The Committee, therefore, decided to write to the Minister to ask in more detail about the Government's disagreement with the Commission and to try to determine the extent to which the UK is failing to implement the Directive.

Update: On 22 May, the Committee reviewed the Minister's reply. Members felt that the letter did not provide clarity on which of the Commission’s recommendations she accepted, and which she disputed, so the Committee wrote back requesting further details.

Update: On 23 October, the Committee reviewed the Minister's reply. Members noted the Minister’s explanation of the points on which they are seeking further clarity from the Commission, and requested a further update when those discussions have progressed.

Letters to the Minister

Letters from the Minister

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