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Water Framework Directive

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The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is the most substantial piece of EC water legislation to date and is designed to improve and integrate the way water bodies are managed throughout Europe. In the UK, much of the implementation work will be undertaken by competent authorities. It came into force on 22 December 2000, and was put into UK law (transposed) in 2003. Member States must aim to reach good chemical and ecological status in inland and coastal waters by 2015.

It is designed to:

  • enhance the status and prevent further deterioration of aquatic ecosystems and associated wetlands, which depend on the aquatic ecosystems
  • promote the sustainable use of water
  • reduce pollution of water, especially by ‘priority’ and ‘priority hazardous’ substances (see Daughter Directives)
  • ensure progressive reduction of groundwater pollution

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Page last modified: 04 August 2010
Page published: 23 March 2001