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European Commission - Press release

Environment: Commission asks Poland to correctly transpose legislation concerning water monitoring

Brussels, 27 February 2012 – Poland has not yet complied with EU legislation on water protection, including monitoring of water quality. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is sending an additional reasoned opinion to ask Poland to correctly implement the EU's Water Framework Directive (WFD). This is the third time Poland has been reminded of the need to comply with EU water legislation and if Poland fails to reply within one month, the Commission may refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.

The Water Framework Directive is Europe's key tool for protecting its waters. Article 8 of the Directive obliges Member States to gauge the health of their surface waters and groundwater through national monitoring programmes, so that the status of waters can be established and any corrective measures can be properly targeted. Poland's deadline to transpose the Directive expired in May 2004, but at this time it had not adopted laws to meet the Directive's requirements in a number of areas, including water quality monitoring.

The Commission sent Poland a letter of formal notice in June 2008. As Poland's reply and corrective actions did not cover all of the Commission's concerns, the letter was followed by a reasoned opinion in June 2010. In response, Poland revised its water legislation in March 2011, and also adopted a new law on monitoring surface and ground waters in November 2011. But the new Polish legislation has created further instances of non-compliance, leading the Commission to send Poland an additional reasoned opinion.

Background

The Water Framework Directive, which came into force in 2000, provides a framework for Member States to manage water resources in an integrated way in river basin districts across the European Union. All Member States have undertaken the commitment to protect and restore all bodies of ground water and surface water (rivers, lakes, canals and coastal water) so that all river basin districts achieve "good status" by 2015 at the latest.

The monitoring of surface waters covers the chemical composition of water, a number of key biological elements, and the physical shape of water bodies, in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the health of Europe's waters. Groundwater monitoring programmes cover water quality and water quantity.

For current statistics on infringements in general see:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/legal/implementation_en.htm

See also:

IP/10/832

More details on water policy:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/index_en.htm

MEMO/12/134

Contacts :

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)


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