Internationally, our objectives address the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, Floods Directive and Habitats Directive. The Dee Catchment Partnership is a member of UNESCO's Hydrology for Environment Life and Policy network of exemplar river basins.
Water Framework Directive
The purpose of the European Water Framework Directive (2000) was to establish a framework for the protection of inland surface waters (rivers and lakes), transitional waters (estuaries), coastal waters and groundwater. It aimed to ensure that all aquatic ecosystems and, with regard to their water needs, terrestrial ecosystems and wetlands meet 'good status' by 2027. The Directive required Member States to establish river basin districts and for each of these a river basin management plan. The Directive envisages a cyclical process where river basin management plans are prepared, implemented and reviewed every six years.
There are four distinct elements to the river basin planning cycle:
- Characterisation and assessment of impacts on river basin districts
- Environmental monitoring
- The setting of environmental objectives
- Design and implementation of the programme of measures needed to achieve them
The Directive places controls over water abstractions, impoundments and engineering activities in or adjacent to watercourses that may have impacts on river and lake hydromorphology.
The Floods Directive (2007) focused on the assessment and management of flood risks. This Directive required Member States to assess if all water courses and coast lines are at risk from flooding, to map the flood extent and assets and humans at risk in these areas and to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce this flood risk. With this Directive also reinforces the rights of the public to access this information and to have a say in the planning process.
The Directive requires Member States to:
- Carry out a preliminary assessment by 2011 to identify the river basins and associated coastal areas at risk of flooding.
- Draw up flood risk maps by 2013 and establish flood risk management plans focused on prevention, protection and preparedness by 2015.
The Directive applies to inland waters as well as all coastal waters across the whole territory of the EU.
The Directive shall be carried out in coordination with the Water Framework Directive, notably by flood risk management plans and river basin management plans being coordinated, and through coordination of the public participation procedures in the preparation of these plans. All assessments, maps and plans prepared shall be made available to the public.
The main aim of the Habitats Directive (1992) was to promote the maintenance of biodiversity by requiring Member States to take measures to maintain or restore natural habitats and wild species at a favourable conservation status, introducing robust protection for those habitats and species of European importance.
- Maintain or restore European protected habitats and species at a favourable conservation status
- Designating Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas(SPAs), together they make up the Natura 2000 network
- Ensure conservation measures are in place to appropriately manage SACs and ensure appropriate assessment of plans and projects likely to have a significant effect on the integrity of an SAC
- To encourage the management of features of the landscape that support the Natura 2000 network
- Undertake surveillance of habitats and species
- Ensure strict protection of species listed on Annex IV
- Report on the implementation of the Directive every six years, including assessment of the conservation status of species and habitats listed on the Annexes to the Directive.
EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy (2011) aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU and help stop global biodiversity loss by 2020. It reflects the commitments taken by the EU in 2010, within the international Convention on Biological Diversity.
- Protect species and habitats
- Maintain and restore ecosystems (including green networks)
- Achieve more sustainable agriculture and forestry
- Make fishing more sustainable and seas healthier
- Combat invasive alien species
- Help stop the loss of global biodiversity