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Environmental ProtectionEuropean Law and Governance$
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Joanne Scott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199565177

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565177.001.0001

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Law and Governance of Water Protection Policy

Law and Governance of Water Protection Policy

(p.27) 2 Law and Governance of Water Protection Policy
Environmental Protection

Maria Lee

Oxford University Press

The Water Framework Directive takes an ambitious approach to environmental protection, albeit characterized by flexibility in both language and environmental objectives. This flexibility is constrained by the explicit terms of the Directive, which without commanding particular results, demand that particular tools, approaches, and considerations be used in decision making. The flexibility is further constrained beyond the terms of the legislation through the Common Implementation Strategy, which provides for cooperation between the member states, the Commission and others in the detailed implementation of the Directive. The novel approaches in the Water Framework Directive inevitably raise concerns around both legal and political accountability. However, the combination of these ambitious objectives with mechanisms of new governance is no coincidence — flexibility recognises social and ecological realities, and without it the ambition of the Directive would not be possible. The constraints within and beyond the wording of the legislation keep that flexibility within certain bounds.

Keywords:   water, Water Framework Directive, common implementation strategy, economic instruments, public participation, multi level governance

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