New Alternative and Complementary Environmental Policy Instruments and the Implementation of the Water Framework Directive

Based on a study conducted for the Environment Agency for England and Wales,

we discuss the contribution that new alternative and complementary environmental

policy instruments might make to the realisation of the objectives of the EU’s Water

Framework Directive. Following a survey that identified nearly 100 examples where

alternative and complementary instruments are currently being applied in the UK, we

categorise such instruments as information-based approaches, private and voluntary

regulation or support and capacity building measures. Examples are given of each

category of instrument before further findings on the preconditions for the successful

application of such measures are presented. These preconditions relate to levels

of commitment from key groups, levels of stakeholder understanding, the role of the

lead actor, the importance of timing, the need to deliver a clear message, the importance

of enforcement, the role of the media and the importance of social capital in

key networks. We conclude that alternative and complementary measures have significant

potential to contribute to the realisation of the Water Framework Directive’s

objectives, but only where these preconditions are met.

Gouldson A, Lopez-Gunn E, Van Alstine J, Rees Y, Davies M, Krishnarayan V(2008), European Environment18, pp.359-370.