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EP Briefing Note on the Commission proposal for a directive on the protection of groundwater against pollution

AUTHORS: Frans Oosterhuis-Hasse Goosen-Andrew Farmer

This Policy Brief was written at the request of the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy. It addresses some aspects of the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on the protection of groundwater against pollution (COM(2003) 550). It analyses in particular:

  • why the Commission is bringing forward this proposal at this particular time;
  • whether the impact assessment published with the proposal deals adequately with the likely costs and benefits of implementing the proposal in each Member State;
  • alternative means of dealing with groundwater pollution where such exist; and
  • whether the Member States and Accession countries have adequate administrative and inspection systems to ensure even implementation by the due dates.

The proposal aims at providing criteria for assessing ‘good groundwater chemical status’, for the identification of ‘significant and sustained upward trends’ and the definition of ‘starting points for trend reversals’, in accordance with Article 17 of the water framework Directive (WFD). In addition, the proposal seeks to ensure the continuation of groundwater protection against indirect discharges beyond 2013, when the existing groundwater Directive (80/68) will be repealed.

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