Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Exemptions of the EU Water Framework Directive Deterioration Ban: Comparing Implementation Approaches in Lower Saxony and the Netherlands

Version 1 : Received: 3 December 2020 / Approved: 4 December 2020 / Online: 4 December 2020 (11:14:41 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Starke, J.R.; Rijswick, H.F.M.W. Exemptions of the EU Water Framework Directive Deterioration Ban: Comparing Implementation Approaches in Lower Saxony and the Netherlands. Sustainability 2021, 13, 930. Starke, J.R.; Rijswick, H.F.M.W. Exemptions of the EU Water Framework Directive Deterioration Ban: Comparing Implementation Approaches in Lower Saxony and the Netherlands. Sustainability 2021, 13, 930.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2021, 13, 930
DOI: 10.3390/su13020930

Abstract

The sustainable use of precious water resources requires effective water management. In the European Union, water management is mainly regulated by the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), introducing an integrated river basin management approach. As EU directive, the legislation needs to be implemented in the Member States, entailing not only legal transposition, but also application and enforcement in Member States. One major instrument introduced by the Water Framework Directive is the environmental goal achievement obligation of art. 4 WFD, containing also a deterioration ban with several exemptions. This study compares transposition, application and enforcement of the exemption of permanent deterioration (art. 4 (7) WFD) in the context of the environmental goal achievement obligation regime in Lower Saxony (Germany) and the Netherlands. The study rests on a legal analysis of literature, policy documents and jurisprudence. Although based on the same EU directive wording and case law of the European Court of Justice, the deterioration ban and the exemption of permanent deterioration are implemented rather differently: While the deterioration ban is predominantly understood as planning obligation in the Netherlands, it became an important permit requirement in Lower Saxony since the Weser-ruling of the European Court of Justice.

Subject Areas

Water Framework Directive; Implementation; Deterioration Ban; Exemptions; Water Management; European Law; Environmental Law; Netherlands; Lower Saxony

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