This Week the European Commission published the Environmental implementation Review for European Countries. Ireland could be doing better particularly for protecting peatlands, to address delays designating marine special protection areas and finalising a list of sites of community importance under the Birds Directive.
The report states also that water treatment is a concern. There is a low compliance rate with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive due to the large number of non-compliant agglomerations, in particular, increased biological treatment needs to be provided in urban wastewater treatment. Nitrogen and/or phosphorus needs to be removed from a further 75% of population equivalent urban waste water. The quality of Ireland’s bathing waters is below the EU average. The country’s new non-domestic pricing tariff system requires monitoring to ensure that it works in practice. The powers to regulate water abstraction and hydromorphological controls are still not in place as the proper legal framework is still absent.
They have identified key actions for water management in 2022:
- New physical modifications of water bodies should be assessed in line with Article 4 (7) of the WFD. In these options alternative options and adequate mitigation measures have to be considered.
- Maintain efforts to reduced diffuse nutrient pollution and to address hydromorphological pressures
- Maintain efforts to improve monitoring, in particular, hydromorphological conditions, priority substances and groundwater quality.
- Urgently ensure an appropriate control over water abstraction and hydromorphological changes in compliance with the WFD
- Efforts should be made to improve coordination in the implementation of water, marine and nature policies
- Review action programme regarding the high nutrients, phosphorous surplus and continue to follow up on the monitoring of hotspot areas that show increasing nitrate concentrations.
- Complete implementation of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive for all agglomerations, by building the necessary infrastructure.
The soon to be finalised River Basin Management Plan should contain the programme of measures to address all of the above issues. The report also suggested that Ireland Is not providing adequate funding to address its environmental obligations.
The report is available at: