, Volume 599, Issue 1, pp 221–226 | Cite as

Implications of flexibility in European Community environmental law: exemptions from environmental objectives in the Water Framework Directive

  • Elisabeth GrönlundEmail author
  • Tapio Määttä
ELLS 2007


The present article is a brief review of the legal characteristics of water quality objectives and legally permissible exemptions from these objectives, as enacted in the EC Water Framework Directive. Six different types of exemptions have been identified in total. These vary markedly in the legal premises of their feasibility, ranging from the set deadlines for the environmental objectives to application of less stringent environmental objectives for certain water bodies.


Water Framework Directive Environmental objectives Environmental law 


  1. Convention, 1992. Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, Helsinki 17 March 1992. International Legal Material, 330 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Directive, 2000. Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. Official Journal of the European Communities L 327/1: 1–73.Google Scholar
  3. Fairley, R., C. Smith, H. van Geen, M. Hoedl-Adick, G. van Thyne & D. De Roover, 2002. Riding the new wave on European water law: How member states are tackling the Water Framework Directive. European Environmental Law Review August/September 2002: 232–239.Google Scholar
  4. Grimeaud, D., 2004. The EC Water Framework Directive—an instrument for integrating water policy. Review of European Community and International Environmental Law 1: 27–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Howarth, W., 2006. The progression towards ecological quality standards. Journal of Environmental Law 1: 3–35.Google Scholar
  6. Howarth, W. & D. Gillivray, 2001. Water Pollution and Water Quality Law. Shaw and Sons. Crayford.Google Scholar
  7. Krämer, L., 2000. Differentiation in EU environmental policy. European Environmental Law Review May 2000: 133–140.Google Scholar
  8. Määttä, T., 2005. Joustavien normien kiinteytys-, täsmentämis- ja konkretisointimekanismit ympäristöoikeudessa. In Lohi, T. (ed.), Kaavoitus, rakentaminen, varallisuus. Juhlajulkaisu Vesa Majamaa. Edita, Helsinki, 265–299, (In Finnish).Google Scholar
  9. Premazzi, G., A. Dalmiglio, A. C. Cardoso & G. Chiaudani, 2003. Lake management in Italy: the implications of the Water Framework Directive. Lakes & Reservoires: Research and Management 8: 41–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Scott, J., 2000. Flexibility in the implementation of EC environmental law. Oxford University Press, Yearbook of European Environmental Law 1: 37–60.Google Scholar
  11. Seppälä, M., 2004. Vesienhoitosuunnitelmien huomioon ottaminen ympäristönsuojelulain ja vesilain mukaisessa lupaharkinnassa. Ympäristöjuridiikka 3–4: 91–103, (In Finnish).Google Scholar
  12. Treaty of Nice, 2001. Treaty of Nice amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing European Communities and certain related Acts. Official Journal of the European Communities C 80/1: 1–87.Google Scholar
  13. Wilby, R. L., H. G. Orr, M. Hedger, D. Forrow & M. Blackmore, 2006. Risks posed by climate change to the delivery of Water Framework Directive objectives in the UK. Environment International 23: 1043–1055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecological Research InstituteUniversity of JoensuuJoensuuFinland
  2. 2.Department of LawUniversity of JoensuuJoensuuFinland

Personalised recommendations