RTPI NEWS: RTPI welcomes EC water framework directive

The institute believes that the land-use planning system should play a key role in achieving the directive's objectives.

Welsh planning policy officer Rebecca Phillips says that the RTPI sees the directive as an opportunity to establish a framework for the sustainable management and use of water. "It recognises that the directive has major implications for both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, which will affect both land use and policy making and the mechanisms by which policies are delivered and monitored."

Phillips, replying to the Third Consultation Paper on the Implementation of the EC Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), comments that, eventually, the directive should lead to a more comprehensive appreciation of the aquatic environment with the provision of additional guidance that land-use planners and developers will need to take into account.

"The development of a coherent and targeted monitoring system focused on key priorities should result in a better understanding of trends and pressures," she insists. "Also, the directive gives DEFRA, the ODPM, the Environment Agency and the Welsh Assembly Government a better opportunity to identify efficient mechanisms for delivering their sustainable development objectives in relation to water."

Phillips stresses that, because the management and development of land results in a range of pressures and impacts on the water environment, the successful implementation of the directive will depend to a large extent on the establishment of appropriate and consistent links between the directive and the land-use planning system in England and Wales. She therefore sees this as an opportunity to use the directive to develop the current relationship between land-use planning and water management to ensure that it is robust and consistent enough to help achieve the aims and objectives of the directive.

"It would also serve to further the government's proposals for the development of new sustainable communities," she believes.

"In addition, community involvement in the planning system provides an opportunity to deliver an element of the public participation requirements of the directive. Successful engagement will depend on the implementation of mechanisms at appropriate local levels and on integration with established processes of land use and resource planning and management."

The response concludes that new development with high-quality design can help protect the water environment and in some cases lead to its restoration.

It concludes: "These positive impacts can be linked to the remediation of contaminated land and hence improvements to ground and surface water quality, river habitat restoration, water-use efficiency and protection of natural eco-systems."

- The full response is available from eleanor.robinson@rtpi.org.uk.

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