Review of mechanisms to control ecological impacts resulting from hydromorphological changes
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Review of mechanisms to control ecological impacts resulting from hydromorphological changes Alice Baverstock. Purpose and timing of paper. Issue: are existing mechanisms for delivering hydromorph measures sufficient (for Article 11.3i)?

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Review of mechanisms to control ecological impacts resulting from hydromorphological changes Alice Baverstock

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Review of mechanisms to control ecological impacts resulting from hydromorphological changesAlice Baverstock


Purpose and timing of paper

  • Issue: are existing mechanisms for delivering hydromorph measures sufficient (for Article 11.3i)?

  • Commitment in Defra’s 3rd consultation paper on WFD transposition to “further consideration” of this issue

  • Consultation planned alongside consultations on agricultural and non-agricultural diffuse pollution measures (December 2006 – March 2007)


Directive requirements

  • WFD requires us to prevent/mitigate ecological effects resulting from physical changes to water bodies

  • But it accepts that some physical changes (and their ecological effects) are necessary – hence the alternative objectives for HMWB and new modifications


Scope and scale of action needed

  • RBC1 showed morphological changes as the most significant pressures on water bodies in England and Wales (affecting 48% rivers, 59% lakes, 89% estuaries and 78% coastal waters).

  • But this isn’t the number of water bodies where we will need to take action.

    Need more information about

  • Additional types of modifications

  • Which changes are causing ecological effects (some information in draft paper, but data and science gaps)

  • Sectors/activities responsible for the modifications which have the impacts (including important split between useful vs redundant modifications)


Existingmechanisms

We have a range of mechanisms which could be used for delivering measures to control the relevant activities

  • Flood management and land drainage mechanisms

  • Dredging and disposal (TRAC) mechanisms

  • Dredging and disposal (freshwater) mechanisms

  • Construction and development (TRAC) mechanisms

  • Land use planning mechanisms

  • Abstraction and impoundment licensing mechanisms

  • Fisheries mechanisms

  • Diffuse pollution mechanisms

  • Restoration mechanisms

  • Cross cutting impact assessments


WFD proofing existing mechanisms

  • None of these mechanisms was designed with the WFD requirements (on hydromorph or anything else) in mind.

  • So we need to “WFD proof” them. This includes making sure those responsible for the mechanisms understand WFD requirements and amend their:

  • appraisal mechanisms

  • guidance and policy documents

  • operational handbooks

  • environmental standards.

  • Draft consultation paper lists some of the things which will need to be amended, but list needs improvement.


Planned amendments to mechanisms 1

There are lots of planned and ongoing changes to these mechanisms. Where these changes are happening, they should be “WFD proofed” too.

Planned changes include:

Flood management

  • Revision of land drainage byelaws

  • EA regional flood defence business plans

    Marine licensing etc

  • Marine bill review of licensing, marine spatial planning, sea fisheries committee reform

  • New licensing for aggregate dredging

  • EIA regulations for FEPA and CPA


Planned amendments to mechanisms 2

Land use planning

  • PPS25 on development and flood risk

  • Drawing together water references from PPS and PPGs

  • Government Code for sustainable buildings

    Fisheries

  • Possible salmon and freshwater fisheries bill

  • Review of fisheries appraisals

    Diffuse pollution

  • See diffuse pollution consultation papers

    Restoration

  • Biodiversity frameworks

  • Regional habitat creation plans for flood management

  • Asset system management plans for flood management


Possible ideas on further changes

These are only “possible ideas” as we don’t yet have a good enough picture of the ecological impacts which need tackling to compare against existing mechanisms for requiring action, and so find the gaps.

  • Amend land drainage consent charge?

  • Amend maintenance exemption for deposit of dredgings?

  • Regulate disturbance of sea bed?

  • New offence to disturb bed of inland water?

  • Power to require restoration?

  • Funding for restoration?


Topics for discussion

  • Timing and purpose of the paper Should we publish something along these lines as a consultation paper in December? Or policy statement in December? Or for consultation later?

  • Coverage of the paper. Which parts of this paper need to be added/expanded? What should be left out?

  • Restoration. What practical action needs to be taken – scope and scale? What is currently done? What mechanisms work, and which don’t?

  • Existing mechanisms What is the best approach to amending existing delivery mechanisms to “WFD proof” them?


Hydromorphology

A fish swims into a wall.

Damn


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