B4.4.1 WFD continued…


The WFD has a timetable for its implementation, as demonstrated in the table below:

Water Framework Directive’s implementation timetable: 
Date Action
22 December 2000 Directive entered into force (article 22)
22 December 2003 bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive (article 24)
identify competent authority (article 3)
22 June 2004 provide Commission with list of competent authorities (article 3)
22 December 2004 for each district, complete analysis of characteristics of the surface and groundwaters, review the environmental impact of human activity (industry, farming etc) and prepare economic analysis of water use (article 5)
establish register or registers of protected areas (articles 6 and 7)
22 December 2005 In the absence of agreement at Community level, of criteria for identifying significant and sustained upward trends in groundwater pollution and for the definition of starting points for trend reversals, Member States to establish appropriate criteria (Article 17(4)) In the absence of criteria at national level, trend reversal is to start at 75% of quality standards applicable to groundwater in existing Community legislation (Article 17, 5)
22 December 2006 make operational monitoring programmes to ensure comprehensive view of water quality status within each river basin district (article  8 )
publish and consult on a timetable and work programmes for the production of river basin management plans for each river basin district (article 14)
in the absence of agreement at Community level, for substances included on the first priority list (see article 16), member states to establish environmental quality standards for all surface water affected by discharges of those substances and controls on principal sources of discharges (same obligation to apply 5 years after subsequent inclusion of a priority substance in the list, in the absence of Community agreement) (article 16)
22 December 2007 publish and consult on an interim overview of significant water management issues for each river basin district (article 14) 
22 December 2008 publish and consult on drafts of the river basin management plans (at least 6 months to be allowed for comments in all the above cases) (article 14)
22 December 2009 establish programmes of measures in each river basin district in order to deliver environmental objectives (article 11)
publish first river basin management plan for each river basin district, including environmental objectives for each body of surface or groundwater and summaries of programmes of measures (article 13)
2010 ensure proper water pricing policies are in place (article 9)
22 December 2012 make operational programmes of measures in each river basin district to deliver environmental objectives (article 11)
interim progress reports to be prepared on progress in implementing planned programmes of measures (article 15)
22 December 2015 main environmental objectives to be met (article 4)
22 December 2015 and every six years thereafter review and update plans (with same consultation and interim reporting arrangements described above) (articles13,14 and 15)

Source: http://www.defra.gov.uk

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The following have been designated competent authorities for the UK:

  • England and Wales: The Environment Agency (EA)
  • Scotland: The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Northern Ireland: The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)


The duties of these competent authorities include:

  • Acting as the government’s agent by providing advice, developing relationships with other statutory bodies and working with those regulated.
  • Completing the characterisation of water bodies and implementing the monitoring programme.
  • Developing the river basin management plans, including the programmes of measures, for each River Basin District and consulting with stakeholders and the public.
  • Implementing the approved programme of measures to secure the agreed environmental objectives.