European Water Framework Directive and Its Impact on Water Transport in the European Union

As a result of the July 1999 European Summit held in Gothenburg, Sweden, all European Union policy areas are subject to the guiding principle of sustainable development. Within this context, the European Commission published a white paper on transport policy to 2010, focusing on the need to foster more environmentally and socially sustainable means of transport to achieve a modal shift away from road transport. The white paper mentions inland navigation as a mode with great potential to contribute to a shift toward more sustainable modes than roads and recognizes that among other measures, infrastructural improvements must be realized on the European waterways. However, European environmental legislation, namely, the Water Framework Directive (WFD), is likely to challenge the strategy of necessary improvements on European waterways. The target conflict arising from environmental legislation that is capable of contradicting efforts to ensure sustainability in the transport sector is examined. Within this context, several aspects of WFD are described: development; the current implementation status in the national law of European Union member states and the potential consequences for waterway infrastructure, dredging, and navigability; and the general role of inland navigation in a competitive transport market. Possible instruments foreseen in the WFD to balance the interests of environmental concerns and those of the navigation sector are also addressed.


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  • Accession Number: 01006658
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309093821
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Oct 25 2005 3:46PM