Are the Costs of Implementing the WFD Disproportionate?
The international workshop "Implementing the Economic Aspects of the WFD - Future Challenges in the Elbe River Basin" took place in Leipzig on 7-8 July 2005 and was mainly organised by Ecologic Associate Britta Pielen. In the course of the workshop, Benjamin Görlach gave an overview of the Member States' current approaches to assessing disproportionate costs in implementing the European Water Framework Directive.
In reaching the objectives of good ecological status, Article 4 of the Water Framework Directive provides for the possibility of exemptions if the necessary measures should prove to be disproportionately costly. However, the concept of "disproportionate costs" is not defined either in the Directive or in economic theory or legal practice. Based on the guidance provided by the European WATECO working group, different Member States have developed definitions and ways of assessing the disproportionality of costs. These would usually begin with a comparison of costs and benefits to society, e.g. through a cost-benefit analysis. In addition, the ability to pay of the affected actors is also taken into account.
In his lecture, Benjamin Görlach gave an overview of the state of discussion in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. The results should be regarded as preliminary impressions, as these issues are still very much under discussion in the countries concerned.
You can download the presentation here [pdf, 292 KB, English].
- Ecologic Institute Project: "The Case for Valuation Studies in the Water Framework Directive"
- Ecologic Institute Project: "Selection of cost-effective combinations of measures in Germany"
- Ecologic Institute Event: "Economic Analysis according to the WFD: Status of Implementation - an International Exchange of Experience", November 2003.