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River Basin Management Plans Alternative Objectives: Approach to Extended Deadlines 2009-2015

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River Basin Management Plans Alternative Objectives: Approach to Extended Deadlines 2009-2015

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This document summarises the cases for extended deadline exemption which are detailed in the final River Basin Management Plans for the North Western, Neagh Bann, Shannon, South Eastern, South Western and Western River Basin Districts. The exemptions are based on the Water Framework Directive objective setting decision tree.

The development of extended deadlines was undertaken under the review and guidance of several organisations. Consultations were held with:

  • National Advisory Committee
  • Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
  • National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Office of Public Works
  • Teagasc
  • Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food

The purpose of consultations was to ensure the scientific robustness of the technical decisions made, and to ensure that the extended deadlines do not impinge on the achievement of objectives under other environmental legislation.

The following cases for extended deadlines are presented in this report:

  • Wastewater treatment plant discharges;
  • Mines and Contaminated Lands – discharges to groundwaters;
  • Agriculture: Nitrogen losses from agriculture to groundwaters;
  • Agriculture: Phosphorus losses from agriculture to surface waters by runoff
  • Agriculture: Phosphorus losses from agriculture to surface waters via groundwater
  • Forestry – acidification risks;
  • Chemical pollution and chemical status failures – priority substances and specific
  • Morphology – channelisation risks;
  • Morphology – overgrazing risks;
  • Nitrogen losses to estuaries;
  • Delayed recovery of highly impacted sites.

Each case is described under the following headings:

  • Pressure / Reason for extended deadline;
  • Precise Type of Exemption being sought (for example technical constraint or physical
    recovery as per the Decision Tree);
  • Specific Reason for Exemption – this outlines the technical reasons as to why Good Ecological Status is not achievable by 2015;
  • Quality Elements thought likely to fail – based on the technical reasons, this outlines the elements for which GES is unlikely to be achieved by 2015;
  • Date – proposed extended deadline;
  • Conclusion – Case summary;
  • Action – Follow up action required.

The exemptions were based on district level analysis of pressure and risk datasets supplemented by cases based on detailed local information brought forward by Local
Authorities (which have the responsibility for setting objectives in the River Basin Management Plan under the Water Policy Regulations 2003 (as amended).

Note that economic assessment is required where it is necessary to determine whether a particular measure should be applied or whether less stringent objectives or deferred
objectives should be set on the basis of disproportionate cost. Guidance on economic assessment and a baseline report on the economic analysis of water use in Ireland are
available as economic background documents to river basin management plans on Economic analysis has not been used to justify deferral of measures or extension of objectives in the North Western, Neagh Bann, Shannon, South Eastern, South Western and Western River Basin Districts.

Extended Deadlines Background Document final.pdf  Download  


Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.