Quantitative indicators for the scale of pressures
For the Water Framework Directive (WFD) River Basin Management Plans data had to be reported to the European Environment Agency. These data are used by the European Environment Agency to assess compliance of the Water Framework Directive and spot trends across Europe. At river basin district scale they required calculations of the scale of pressures and failing chemical substances at the beginning (2015) and end (2021) of the planning cycle. This had to be calculated for each significant pressure or chemical substance failing. The data that was reported was based on data available in the Environment Agency's Catchment Planning System.
Guidance from the European Environment Agency is provided below with more information:
Quantitative indicators for the scale of the pressure or chemical substance failure are given for each significant pressure and, generically, for Priority Substances or River Basin Specific Pollutants (RBSPs). These quantitative indicators are intended to provide information on the expected gap to be filled at the start of the second planning cycle in 2015 in terms of the scale of the pressure that needs to be reduced to achieve WFD Environmental Objectives. In terms of the achievement of good ecological status or potential, the gap to be filled would equate to the required reduction in pressures (e.g. loads of nutrients) so that water bodies at (or expected to be at) less than good status or potential in 2015 would achieve good status or potential. Values of the quantitative indicators are also required for 2021 and 2027, reflecting the scale of the pressure that would still be required to be tackled so that WFD Environmental Objectives can be achieved. The values for 2021 and 2027 would, therefore, be expected to be lower than the value for 2015.
Quantitative indicators are considered a management tool and represent the best estimate that the Member State can provide to show the gap to achieving good status or potential and the intended progress by a certain deadline. The quantification of pressures, as with any other process in the planning cycle, is subject to uncertainties. There will be cases where data and information are not available to produce a useful quantitative indicator. This may be particularly the case for certain pressures which are more difficult to quantify and/or in complex RBDs subject to many pressures, where it is difficult to disaggregate the pressure-measure relationships.
On this basis, the Member States are requested to report quantitative indicators for pressures to the best extent possible and for the pressures where this information is available or can be derived on the basis of a reasonable effort. In this regard, the lack of reporting of quantitative indicators for pressures does not imply a failure to comply with the WFD obligations. As an alternative, Member States can use other policy supporting tools to evaluate pressures and the effects of measures. In this case, a reference to these management tools should be reported.
Indicators are developed in such a way that they represent the gap to achieving good status or potential for each given significant pressure. Therefore, an indicator value of 0 would mean a level of pressure compatible with 100 % good status or potential, i.e. which would enable the affected water bodies to achieve good status or potential. However, given that the affected water bodies may be subject to other pressures, they may still not achieve good status or potential. In addition, good status or potential may not be achieved immediately due to natural conditions or the delayed response of the ecosystem. Attribution statement: Environment Agency copyright and/or database right 2016. All rights reserved.