The European Commission has welcomed the European Parliament's
second reading vote approving the agreement reached with the
Council on the proposed directive on environmental quality
standards in the field of water.
The directive will better protect rivers, lakes and coastal
waters against pollution from a range of chemical substances.
European Environment Commissioner Commissioner Dimas said
- "This directive has a particular importance as it completes
the legislative framework for the protection of Europe's water
resources. I am grateful to the Parliament for the ambitious
approach it has taken throughout the negotiations and I welcome
that Parliament and Council have reached agreement at second
The directive on environmental quality standards for water
is the final major piece of legislation needed to support
Framework Directive (WFD) - the cornerstone of EU
water protection policy. The WFD requires that all EU waters
should achieve 'good status' by 2015. It establishes
a new regime for the prevention and control of chemical pollution
The new directive will implement this for surface waters
by setting harmonised quality standards for a list of 33 current
priority substances. These standards will give a high level
of protection to the environment and human health by translating
the concept of 'good status' into transparent numerical
values based on best available science and knowledge.
The Parliament has ensured that the level of ambition proposed
by the Commission has been maintained and has left its mark
on key points, in particular, by -
- Requiring a revision of the list of priority substances
and corresponding environmental quality standards, to be
proposed within two years of the directive entering into
- Introducing transparent criteria for the designation
of so-called 'mixing zones' - zones in which the
standards can be exceeded under certain conditions
- Reinforcing the objective of ceasing or phasing-out emissions
of 13 'priority hazardous substances' within 20 years.
In particular, the Commission will prepare a report on progress
towards achieving this objective in 2018.
An inventory of emissions, discharges and losses will help
the Commission in its assessment of progress.
The legislative framework under the WFD that will be completed
with this directive will provide a sound, predictable and
long-term basis for decisions at all levels - from the local
to the European. This is particularly important for the development
of river basin management plans and programmes of measures,
which Member States are due to complete by December 2009.
The new directive will repeal five existing directives
and, at the same time, simplify water-related reporting within
WISE - the newly-created Water Information System for Europe.
Further information - Water information system for Europe
(WISE) - Click
82/176/EEC on limit values and quality objectives
for mercury discharges from the chlor-alkali electrolysis
on limit values and quality objectives for cadmium discharges;
Directive 84/156/EEC on limit values and quality objectives
for mercury discharges by sectors other than the chlor-alkali
on limit values and quality objectives for discharges of hexachlorocyclohexane
on limit values and quality objectives for discharges of certain
dangerous substances included in List 1 of the Annex to Directive