Water framework Directive agreed at last

A new EC framework Directive on water resources was finally agreed by the European Parliament and Council in conciliation negotiations which ended on 29 June. Clauses allowing Member States to defer the achievement of "good" status in surface waters and groundwaters beyond 15 years were tightened up somewhat. Pressure from Parliament for the Directive to implement a North Sea agreement requiring major reductions in releases of hazardous substances led to a complex new two-tier system for controlling priority substances. And there will be a new groundwater Directive within two years aimed at correcting weaknesses in the framework Directive itself.

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