The Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (WFD) is widely accepted as the most substantial and ambitious piece of European environmental legislation to date. Introduced in 2000, it requires that all community waters in the EU achieve ‘good ecological and chemical status’ by 2027 (the original deadline was 2015, but it was later postponed).
Since its introduction, there have been challenges in implementation across the EU which means that not all the WFD objectives have been delivered. In addition, due to the way in which it has been adopted in different EU countries, it is difficult to benchmark how the UK water bodies are performing against its peers. This leads us to the big question, are Britain’s rivers up the creek?
In early December 2019, Ofwat will publish its final determinations – this is a set of regulatory requirements which need to be achieved between 2020-2025. Coupled with the WFD, this means that there is an ever-increasing spotlight on the cleanliness of our rivers and pollutants affecting them. In order to meet these new regulatory requirements, there is an urgent need to understand how Britain’s water bodies are performing, the deficiencies in and the barriers for more effective pollution management.
Susana Ochoa Rodriguez, Martin Spiers and Celina Wong discuss the condition of Britain’s rivers and how to improve their cleanliness in the future.