asked Her Majesty's Government:
What plans they have to issue guidance to the Environment Agency as a result of the European Union Commission amendment to Directive 2000/60/EC to replace paragraph 3 of Article 8 with the following: “3. The Commission shall adopt technical specifications and standardised methods for analysis and monitoring of water status. Those measures, designed to amend nonessentials elements of this Directive by supplementing it, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 21 (3).”; and by what date they expect to adopt a common standard of good ecological status of water bodies. [HL2964]
My department currently has no plans to issue guidance to the Environment Agency as a result of the amendment from the European Commission to paragraph 3 of Article 8 of the EC Water Framework Directive (WFD)(2000/60/EC).
The amendment changes procedures for the Article 21 committee of the WFD (and introduces the new regulatory procedure with scrutiny) including that for adopting technical specifications and standardised methods for the analysis and monitoring of water status. The Environment Agency (alongside other UK competent authorities) will continue to advise the UK Government through the UK Technical Advisory Group on the WFD on technical matters which arise in the Article 21 committee.
The intercalibration process required by the WFD should lead to a common understanding across the European Union of good ecological status in water bodies. It is expected that the Article 21 committee will be asked to adopt a Commission decision on the results of the intercalibration exercise for the first river basin planning cycle during autumn 2007.
It is envisaged that the classification scheme in various parts of the UK will be finalised in the months following the adoption of the intercalibration decision by the Article 21 committee.