I missed this in March and so this is just for completeness. CMS http://www.cmscoms.com/?p=9202 from Steve Hull described the new guidance and the more recent ‘publication’ (in June I think) did not actually change anything – just a formality of some kind.

New Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations.

Jan Brooke: ‘In March, the new Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2017 were published. These Regulations, which can be found at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/407/contents/made, replace the Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2003. Whereas the 2003 Regulations (as amended) incorporated ‘by reference’ Articles 4 and 11 of the Directive, the new Regulations set out in detail the provisions of these Articles so that all the environmental objectives of the Directive and the requirements relating to the programmes of measures required to secure the objectives are fully reflected in the legislation.

The revised Regulations serve the dual purpose of consolidating the 2003 Regulations, which have been amended a number of times, and making aspects of the Regulations more detailed and transparent*.  The new Regulations also provide more detail about the duties of the Ministers and the regulators but they do not add to, or take away from, any of the duties of the UK, the Competent Authorities or affect the activities of any individual or organisation.’

*The further transparency was at least in part the result of a request from the European Commission

Commission asks the UNITED KINGDOM to revisit key elements of water legislation

Specifically, the European Commission asked the United Kingdom to ‘ensure that the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) is correctly enacted in national law. While some enacting legislation has been adopted, the existing framework is only partial, and the interplay with obligations in other legislation impacting on water management is a cause for concern, with potentially negative effects for the UK’s citizens. The Commission is asking for more precision in the enactment of some central elements such as environmental objectives and programmes of measures required to attain them. Furthermore, under the existing arrangements, national authorities may lack the necessary powers to tackle negative water impacts, a requirement of EU legislation. The Commission is sending a reasoned opinion spelling out its concerns, giving the UK two months to reply. If the UK fails to act, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

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