THE RIVER THAMES ALLIANCE CO. LTD.

A not for profit company limited by guarantee - Registered in England Company No. 09550359

In Light of BREXIT and the changes it may have on European Water Quality Directive

RTA Seek a New Young and Politically astute Leader of our Environment Working Group

RTA Working with Experts to Deliver Results

The Environment Agency's principle tool in improving water quality in our rivers is the EU Water Framework Directive, which has set EU member states the target of achieving “good” water quality in all surface and ground water by 2027. How this will be achieved in Thames is set out in a River Basin Plan.


While the EA is the “competent authority” in delivering the River Basin Plan, large parts of the improvement programme will be delivered at a local level by partner organisations such as Local Authorities.


The role of the River Thames Alliance, through its supporters and volunteers, will be to influence the EA on the content and priorities identified within the River Basin Plan and assist with the development of partnership projects to implement those priorities.   

Richmond Yacht Club

Big Bear Supplies LTD

Henley Sales & Charter Ltd

Two events have been announced for anyone interested in standing as a candidate in the next Surrey County Council Elections, to be held in May 2017.


The two open days are being held on 17 October and 3 November 2015 at County Hall in Kingston, and will explain how to register as a candidate, the roles and responsibilities of being a county councillor and the services that Surrey County Council provides for its residents.


The events are open to everyone, whether they want to stand as a candidate for a political group or as an independent. Or you can attend if you simply wish to know more about the democratic process and what is involved.


You can book a ticket to one of the events through this link:

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/prospective-councillors-event-tickets-18842896611



For further information, contact Katie Booth, Democratic Services Acting Lead Manager, Tel: 020 8541 7197 or email: katieb@surreycc.gov.uk,

Find out about Standing in

2017 County Council Elections

Water Framework Directive by . . . . . .  Jessica Sparkes


Current EU Directives have shaped water policy and investment in the UK but as we move ever closer to Brexit, questions arise about what, if any, changes to water regulations will occur in a post-EU Britain. Given the positive effect that EU regulation has had on the cleanliness of our waterbodies, it is unlikely that we will see a major divergence from the current situation. There are however certain targets that are extremely challenging and therefore present an opportunity to make amendments to take account of technical feasibility, disproportionate costs and natural conditions.


The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC) came into force in December 2000. Known within the EU as “the English Directive” due to the strong involvement of the UK in its initiation, the WFD’s aim is simple; to ensure that all inland surface waters (rivers and lakes), transitional waters (estuaries), coastal waters and groundwater meet ‘good status.’ The Directive outlined a framework which was then transposed into national law through various regulations. In addition to the WFD, there are a suite of associated ‘sister directives’ on groundwater and surface water quality and ‘daughter directives’ related to flood risk management and marine protection.


The WFD aimed to achieve ‘good status’ for all ground and surface waters by 2015 or by the extended deadlines of 2021 and 2027, depending on the overall cost and difficulty of achieving the standard. There is flexibility within the Directive, but nevertheless it has been argued that the environmental standards set at the EU level are unrealistic in some situations (e.g. due to natural conditions) and that the penalties involved in failing to meet the standards are too great. As such, there is an opportunity for the UK to amend the regulations to account for technical feasibility and to introduce more realistic timescales. Any potential changes would need to ensure that there was no increased risk to human health or the quality of our environment and would therefore require substantial scientific evidence. Furthermore, public response and resistance from stakeholders focused on environmental protection would make it difficult to relax any aspect of the regulations.

So will we see any changes post-Brexit?

EU water quality regulations, based mainly on the WFD, aim to keep our water clean and this principle should remain. As such, fundamental change is unlikely across the water industry. From a human health perspective, changes which would reduce the standards set for drinking or bathing waters are highly unlikely for obvious reasons. From an environmental perspective, any changes which relaxed environmental protection standards in specific circumstances would need to be very well justified and supported with strong evidence based on sound science.


Changes that would improve the way in which current regulations work at the UK level are perhaps more likely than changes to technical detail. While Directives have been criticised as ‘one-size-fits all’ an approach based on local challenges, needs and technical feasibility could be more successful. Another possible change is a move towards risk-based systems established through scientific evidence (i.e. what is the risk of the hazard occurring in particular situations) rather than hazard-based systems. This may be appropriate for pesticides in water, for example.


Regardless of any potential for change, the current regulatory system is most likely to remain in place until at least 2021 when the 2nd cycle of river basin management plans come to an end. Beyond 2021 there may be opportunity to adapt the regulations derived from “the English Directive”!


Working with many experts and organisations for the time being the RTA will rely upon the knowledge resources of the Environment Agency and on ADAS’s core strengths in both public and private sector markets in the provision of informed, independent and impartial research and consultancy to provide robust evidence for policy development and position statements, impact assessments and feasibility studies, monitoring and evaluation, and industry intelligence and insights provided via a team of sector specialists.


Until further notice:

If you would like to discuss policy implications in light of Brexit please contact brexitpolicygroup@adas.co.uk


For more Brexit related information please see the ADAS Brexit Policy Group Service page.


Alternatively click here for recent ADAS Brexit news articles


RTA thank and acknowledge: Author: Jessica Sparkes for this article and news update on the implications of Brexit.


Current EU Directives have shaped water policy and investment in the UK but as we move ever closer to Brexit, questions arise about what, if any, changes to water regulations will occur in a post-EU Britain. Given the positive effect that EU regulation has had on the cleanliness of our waterbodies, it is unlikely that we will see a major divergence from the current situation. There are however certain targets that are extremely challenging and therefore present an opportunity to make amendments to take account of technical feasibility, disproportionate costs and natural conditions. The River Thames Alliance Co. Ltd. Intend to continue to do all they can for the future


Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon has now formally been triggered by the UK government.


This process will be long, unpredictable and probably messy, much like a long-distance race. The start gun has been fired, the pace will be set but as the race goes on, contestants (i.e. competing issues) will drop out of the race and although there may be spurts along the way, it will only be as we near the finish line that the outcome will become known.


What do we know now that we did not know yesterday? The answer is very little will change immediately, apart from we are now formally beginning our withdrawal from the EU.


Who will win, lose or draw is still a long race away.



Article 50 has been triggered,  now what? Mail: brexitpolicygroup@adas.co.uk