Setting objectives in the water environment
This paper examines the role of wetlands in the programme of measures (PoM). Wetland habitats can help to achieve WFD objectives because of their functionality. Wetland loss and degradation has increased the vulnerability of many catchments to negative impacts.
This Guidance Paper is a working draft defined by the UKTAG. It documents the principles to be adopted by agencies responsible for implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD) in the UK. This method will evolve as it is tested, with this working draft amended accordingly.
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) establishes a range of different environmental objectives for the water environment. For river basin management planning, an objective setting process is required to enable decisions to be made about which of these environmental objectives are applicable to particular bodies of water. The flexibility to apply different objectives will allow improvements to the water environment to be prioritised over successive planning cycles whilst ensuring that the needs of water users and other stakeholders are properly taken into account in decision-making.
The existing ‘No deterioration’ policies applied by the individual agencies, to inform regulatory decisions on new discharges and increases in load for existing discharges, will continue to be applied. These policies consider sustainable development and fair allocation principles when considering consent/permit limits and any permissible changes to the existing water quality of the receiving watercourse. These policies can be obtained from the relevant agencies in Scotland, England & Wales and Northern Ireland.
The paper sets out UKTAG’s guidance on the:a) the high-level principles that influence the need for less stringent objectives (LSOs) (or ‘lower objectives’) for groundwater bodies;b) an approach used in 2004 to identify initial list of groundwater bodies that will require less stringent objectives. The approach that is described in this paper may be simplified in order to suit individual circumstances.
Water bodies identified as being at significant risk of failing to achieve good ecological status because of modifications to their hydromorphological characteristics resulting from past engineering works, including impounding works, were provisionally identified as heavily modified for the Article 5 report. These are recorded as modified on the WFD characterisation database and there are currently 476 such water bodies in Scotland, and 3301 in England and Wales.
Drinking water protected areas are bodies of surface water or groundwater:(i) used, or planned to be used, for the abstraction of water intended for human consumption; and(ii) providing, or planned to provide, a total of more than 10 cubic metres of water per day on average, or serving, or planned to serve, more than 50 people.