Commission asks the United Kingdom to revisit key elements of water legislation
Salmon & Trout Conservation UK, the charity that campaigns for fish and our aquatic environment, is delighted that the European Commission is asking the United Kingdom to ensure that the Water Framework Directive (WFD – Directive 2000/60/EC) is correctly enacted in national law. While some enacting legislation has been adopted, the existing framework is only partial, and the interplay with obligations in other legislation impacting on water management is a cause for concern, with potentially negative effects for the UK's citizens. The Commission is asking for more precision in the enactment of some central elements such as environmental objectives and programmes of measures required to attain them. Furthermore, under the existing arrangements, national authorities may lack the necessary powers to tackle negative water impacts, a requirement of EU legislation. The Commission is sending a reasoned opinion spelling out its concerns, giving the UK two months to reply. If the UK fails to act, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Brussels, 22 October 2015
Paul Knight, CEO of Salmon & Trout Conservation UK, said, "The Commission's action supports what S&TC UK has been saying for some time and had earlier submitted to the Commission in its formal complaint over the protection of the Hampshire Avon SAC under both the Habitats and Water Framework Directives (https://salmon-trout.org/news_item.asp?news_id=228)
"Since 2009, there has been a distinct lack of ambition from central government in England and Wales over the WFD and, frankly, far too little has been achieved that makes sure rivers and lakes are restored to good ecological status. Instead, there has been a sad but predictable tendency within English and Welsh regulators to write yet another report or fanciful plan, re-hashing and re-packaging the old and failed approaches to diffuse pollution and over-abstraction, and think that is enough to deliver the objectives of WFD. Both S&TC UK and the European Commission believe this must now change. S&TC UK will be watching with great interest to see what the government now does."