Informal meeting of EU Water Directors Discussion document on article 4.7 London 28-29 November 2005 Gilles Crosnier Gilles.firstname.lastname@example.org European Commission, DG Environment Unit D.2 – Water and Marine, WFD Team
Why this document ? • Logical follow-up of the paper on environmental objectives endorsed by the Water Directors in June 2005 • Strong demands from many stakeholders and some MS for developing guidance on the use of exemptions mechanisms • Specific interests for “new modifications” exemptions mechanisms
4§7 allows failure to achieve environmental objectives when it is the result of: New modifications to the physical characteristics of a SWB or alterations to the level of GWB New sustainable human development activities Typical examples: new facilities for hydropower, navigation, flood defence, water abstraction or the settling of new industries in “high status” areas. Purpose of article 4.7
Use of article 4.7 – 4 Overall conditions • 1) Assessing if the new modifications will lead to a failure in achieving the environmental objectives of a given WB • 2) Passing a successful test for 4 technical and socio-economical criteria • 3) Checking if that derogation does not compromise the achievement of the environmental objectives in other WB within the same RBD and is consistent with other EU environmental legislation (art 4§8) • 4) Ensuring that at least the same level of protection due to existing Community legislation is guaranteed (art 4§9)
Use of article 4.7- 4 criteria • 1) Overriding public interest and/or better environmental/ health/safety options • 2) No possible alternatives (technical feasibility or disproportionate costs) • 3) take all the practicable mitigation measures • 4) Embedment in the RB management plan
Some key issues • Links with SEA & EIA Directives • Notion of overriding public interest • Possible alternatives • Mitigation • Side-effects of the derogation (e.g. links with Natura 2000) • Content of the RB management plans
Open questions to the Water Directors • Should this initiative cover only article 4§7 or all exemptions cases? • Support and/or assistance to develop papers with the EC and the interested stakeholders? (proposition: use of the environmental objectives paper drafting group)
Other point for information • EC has committed itself for a cost-benefit assessment of WFD implementation by 2006 with the assistance of the MS • A specific study will be launched in 2006. MS will be requested for support in term of available reports or studies.