When work is being carried out under the CIS process or when the European Commission consults on a particular issue which is of importance to the navigation sector, it has often proved useful for the Task Group to develop a ‘common position’, summarising the views of the sector. The process of discussing the issues raised and agreeing a way forward through the Task Group has been very successful - both in raising awareness of various WFD-related issues within the sector, and in allowing any differences in views to be identified and resolved. The sector has thus been able to prepare and present a single response to the Commission on a number of key WFD issues.
Amongst the discussion and position papers prepared in this way by the Task Group are the following:
Starting from 2017, the European Commission carried out a Fitness Check of the EU Water Framework Directive and several other water Directives. WFD NAVI participated in the consultation process, providing input to the Commission via their consultants as part of the stakeholder engagement process.
WFD NAVI identified a number of areas in which the waterborne transport infrastructure sector believes modifications or improvements are required to ensure clarity; to improve the effectiveness of WFD implementation; and, ultimately, to ensure that the WFD meets its objectives.
A Position Paper summarising the main areas of concern to the sector can be found here. The paper focuses on the role of sediments in natural aquatic ecosystem but also highlights a number of other issues of relevance.
In April 2016, the European Commission’s Marine Team and their consultants ran a workshop in Brussels to explore the role of the licensing (i.e. consenting or authorisation) process in delivering ‘good environmental status’ under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Insofar as the MSFD is concerned, most navigation infrastructure-related activities and developments take place in coastal water bodies as defined under the EU Water Framework Directive*. They are therefore already covered by the requirements of the latter. This paper and the associated PowerPoint presentation highlight some of the issues requiring consideration when licensing navigation-related activities in coastal water bodies. They also stress the importance of avoiding unnecessary duplication and inconsistencies in the implementation of these two Directives.
*Estuarine water bodies are not covered by the MSFD, only the WFD.
In early 2015, discussions took place within the CIS Chemicals Working Group about the possible use of sediment trend monitoring to inform decisions taken under the WFD. As this is an area in which members of the WFD Navigation Task Group have considerable experience, an issues paper was prepared and submitted to the European Commission by way of a follow up to the meeting. This paper highlights that great care is required in determining whether trend monitoring in sediment is likely to be representative in a particular water body; it also urges COM to ensure that any guidance properly reflects the potential problems associated with sediment monitoring in transitional and coastal waters.