Agenda Item 05 Woodland Strategy Advisory Panel WSAP 04/07
16th March 2007
Water Framework Directive – Significant Water Management Issues and the
1. To briefly update the Panel on the implementation process of the Water
Framework Directive (WFD), it’s significance for the forest sector and to seek
advice for the current stage – the determination of Significant Water Management
2. EU Directive 2000/60/EC (Water Framework Directive) was transposed under
The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales)
Regulations 2003 (SI 3242). It applies to all surface freshwater bodies (including
lakes, streams and rivers), groundwaters, groundwater dependant ecosystems,
estuaries and coastal waters to one nautical mile.
3. The overall aim of the WFD is to ‘achieve at least good status’ by 2015. The
environmental objectives are:
to prevent deterioration
prevent, limit and reduce pollution
surface waters – achieve good chemical and ecological status
ground waters - achieve good ground water chemical status, reverse
significant upward pollution trends, achieve good quantitative status
4. The wider objectives of WFD are to promote sustainable water use and to
mitigate the effects of floods and droughts.
5. Performance against these objectives requires measurement of a number of
factors to determine status and operates on a one-failure-all-fail basis. Water
bodies have been characterised and initial risk maps exist by catchment though
River Basin Characterisation is currently subject to refinement. What constitutes
good status has yet to be defined. Working to the Common Implementation
Strategy, the UK Technical Advisory Group1 (UKTAG) with the Intercalibration
Steering Group oversees the process to determine the environmental conditions,
which will define that standard.
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6. Following consultation the EA decided that engagement would be best at the
river basin district level and has established 11 river basin liaison panels in
England and Wales (three in Wales). There is forest sector representation on
Western Wales and Severn (not the Dee). By 2008 each river basin will have
draft management plans with associated programmes of measures. These
measures will be aimed at reducing the pressures sectors exert upon the water
environment. The measures are decided upon by the stakeholders in these
liaison panel meetings, with public consultation upon the reports it produces.
7. Some water bodies may be characterised as Heavily Modified Water Bodies (eg
land drainage, flood defence) or Artificial Water Bodies (eg reservoirs for public
water supply) with objectives of Good Chemical Status and Good Ecological
8. Alternative objectives can be set where measures are considered to be
disproportionately expensive or technically unfeasible. Alternatives would be to
extend the deadline and/or set a less stringent objective.
9. The National Assembly for Wales (NAW) are the Appropriate Authority for those
River Basin Districts (RBDs) which are wholly in Wales (Western Wales).
Environment Agency Wales (EAW) are the Competent Authority. For the cross
border RBDs (Severn and Dee) the Welsh Minister and the Secretary of State
jointly approve the environmental objectives, Programmes of Measures and River
Basin Management Plans.
10. Please refer to the appendix for the WFD timetable, SWMI terminology and a
summary of relevant parallel national processes and forestry sector involvement.
11. SWMI are issues, which require additional measures to achieve the
environmental objectives of the Directive by 2015. The consideration of an issues
significance and the effectiveness of measures already in place are decided upon
at the River Basin District level, with reference made to national processes and
reports. The process of pressure apportionment by sector is on going.
12. Members of each liaison panel and sector were asked to develop national criteria
to help the River Basin Liaison Panels identify SWMI (November 2006). Regional
EA staff used the criteria assigned to ‘score’ significance and the liaison panels
subsequently met (January & February 2007) to discuss and agree on the SWMI
for their river basin.
13. The forestry sector is identified as a contributor for the issues presented in the
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Severn River Basin Liaison Panel
Significant issue Other issue
Alien species Acidification
Nitrates Organic Pollution
Physical modification (rivers & lakes)
Western Wales River Basin Liaison Panel
Significant issue Other issue
Organic Pollution Not discussed
Dee River Basin Liaison Panel
Significant issue Other issue
Other pollutants (metals) Not disused
Faecal indicator organisms (??)
14. The EA point out that a pressure may be considered a priority issue but may not
have an associated priority measure. Effective measures (e.g. regulation, grant
incentive, guidelines) may already exist to tackle that priority issue.
15. The Forests and Water Guidelines (4th edition, 2003) were developed in
Partnership with the EA and form the cornerstone of forest and water best
practice management. The Forests and Soil Conservation Guidelines (currently
being updated) also form an important part of best practice for the sector.
Particular to the forest sector is the time frame in which we can sustainably
implement these effective measures - it may be outside of the first cycle of river
16. FCW and Forest Research are currently analysing the ‘fit’ of Wales’ existing
forest resource with Appendix 4 & 5 of the Forests and Water Guidelines (4th
edition, 2003). Similar exercises are being undertaken in England and Scotland.
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17. It will be important to take advantage of the synergy between the WFD process,
forest sector response and the development of the Wales Soil Action Plan being
led by WAG.
18. It is intended that the draft SWMI reports will be considered by the RBLPs in April
and that the final SWMI reports will be published by July 2007. However this is
dependent upon the progress of parallel processes, in particular the Preliminary
Cost Effectiveness Analysis (pCEA). The pCEA is meant to inform the SWMI
reports and is currently behind schedule (refer to appendix for a summary of the
19. It is assumed that there will be due process to consider alignment of significant
issues determined locally by Liaison Panels, the analysis of effective measures,
apportionment to sector and cost-effectiveness. However it is understood that
measures which are considered effective nationally may still require additional
measures locally. Local measures for the forestry sector could be applied to any
of the issues it is identified as contributing to. It is implied that many decisions will
involve judgement calls in this first planning cycle.
20. That WSAP consider and advise on the following:
Forest sector contribution to the pressures it has been identified for in the wider
The SWMI identified at River Basin level for the forest sector
The likely apportionment to the forest sector
Does the forest sector have effective measures in place?
The time scale to sustainably deliver the F&WG as effective measures
Advise on possible additional local measures
Opportunities of forest sector to reduce pressures from other land uses
Policy and Programme Development Team
6th March 2007
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A key requirement of the Directive is public involvement and consultation. A draft
report is produced for each stage which undergoes a six month public consultation.
The EA have already published Water for Life and Livelihoods (a framework for river
basin planning). Defra and WAG jointly published River Basin Planning Guidance
(including the 10 principles of river basin planning). Each River Basin District has
River Basin Planning: working together out to public consultation (explains how the
RBLP works and how you can get involved).
2005 River Basin Characterisation
2006 Working Together: River Basin Planning
2007 Significant Water Management Issues (SWMI)
2008 Draft River Basin Management Plan
2009 First River Basin Management Plan
2012 Programme of measures operational
2015 Good status
Significant Water Management Issues (SWMI) terminology
Pressure environmental problem or activity which could cause an
Issue a pressure having an impact so it becomes and issue
Significant issue likely to prevent us meeting WFD objectives by 2015
Summary of relevant national parallel processes and forestry sector
It is important to note that water bodies which overlap with protected areas (ie
SAC, SSSI) under the Habitats Directive are subject to the more stringent objective
under the conservation plans for that designated site (the precautionary principle
applies). Objectives for these sites are set by the relevant Statutory Nature
Conservation Organisation (SNCO), to reach favourable condition for all of the
features that the site is designated for. Objectives set under the Habitats Directive
are not subject to tests of cost effectiveness as those set under the WFD. The WFD
takes a risk-based approach and has to have due regard to the wider aspirations of
the sustainable development agenda.
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Defra have completed a report which used expert judgement of stakeholders to
improve the baseline scenarios of policies and activities already in place to address
pressures impacting on water bodies. Forestry was considered under:
Diffuse source pressures – sediment delivery, acidification, pesticides
Point source pressures
Abstraction and flow regulation
Sustainable forest management policies were considered to be producing moderate
downward trends in pressures. The Forests & Water Guidelines (fourth edition) are
considered to be effective measures in reducing all pressures. Opportunities for
woodland solutions in reducing diffuse pressures from other land uses were also
The EA have completed a Strategic Assessment which analysed sector /
activity / pressure relationships and considered whether existing measures in place
to address these pressures are effective at a national level. The forest sector
provided expert judgement in the working groups sessions. Working groups were
convened according to groups of pressures identified by the EA in the River Basin
Characterisation (RBC1). Forestry is briefly considered under nitrates,
hydromorphology, pesticides, sediments and acidification. Again the Forests & Water
Guidelines (fourth edition) are considered to be effective measures in reducing all
pressures. Opportunities for woodland solutions in reducing diffuse and
hydromorphological pressures from other land uses were also recognised.
Preliminary cost-effectiveness analysis (pCEA) – national overview of scope
and scale of measures, their costs and effectiveness for the first round of River Basin
Management Plans (RBMPs). Measures include regulation, policy, codes of practice,
guidelines etc. The Strategic Assessment feeds into the pCEA process by providing
an outline ‘business as usual’ projection. The pCEA will update the RIA and SWMI
reports and will essentially help inform key ministerial and SoS decisions. It takes a
scenario based approach (Wales are looking at country specific reference cases).
This will inevitably delay the timing of the report and may not be available to
influence the draft SWMI reports.
The pCEA is being considered on an England / Wales basis by Defra (FC GB
keeping watching brief). WAG are ensuring that the pCEA is right for Wales through
it’s own sub-group (FCW a member). Defra-led working groups have been convened
and forestry is considered primarily under the Non-Agricultural Diffuse Pollution
group. FC GB keep a watching brief on this group because the forest sector is
considered to have effective measures in place to reduce the pressures it has been
It is interesting to note that the water companies have developed a way of carbon
costing proposed measures and have been able to feed this into their working group.
Climate change is to be factored in as much as is possible. One of the default
objectives of the WFD is to reduce the effects of flooding and drought and measures
which can be implemented to mitigate these aspects has to be factored in.
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Below is a summary of the pressure/sector matrix for pCEA and forest sector activity
considered to be a significant contributor to a given pressure:
PCEA working group RBC1 group Activity / pressure
None assigned Abstraction and other Other alterations to flow
artificial flow pressures regime
Planning and flooding Physical modification Bank reinforcement
Culverts, barrages, weirs
Non-Agricultural Diffuse Priority hazardous Pesticides / herbicides
Non-Agricultural Diffuse Nutrients (phosphates & Eutrophication of
Pollution nitrates) freshwater
Eutrophication of TraC
Drinking water standards
Non-Agricultural Diffuse Sediment (as a pollutant) Siltation caused by
Pollution agricultural and urban
The Defra WFD Stakeholder Group meets regularly to provide a forum for
progress reports, feedback and advice. FC GB represent the forest sector.
WAG have established a Wales WFD Stakeholder Forum due to meet for the
first time on March 5th. FCW represent the forest sector.
Defra is in the process of establishing a stakeholder forum for England
planned to meet for the first time towards the end of summer. FC England will
hopefully be able to represent the forest sector.
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