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|Title: ||Investigation of regulatory efficiency with reference to the EU Water Framework Directive: an application to Scottish agriculture|
|Authors: ||Lago Aresti, Manuel|
|Supervisor(s): ||Moran, Dominic|
|Issue Date: ||2009|
|Publisher: ||The University of Edinburgh|
|Abstract: ||The Water Framework Directive (WFD) has the stated objective of delivering good status
(GS) for Europe’s surface waters and groundwaters. But meeting GS is cost dependent, and
in some water bodies pollution abatement costs may be high or judged as disproportionate.
The definition and assessment of disproportionate costs is central for the justification of
time-frame derogations and/or lowering the environmental objectives (standards) for
compliance at a water body.
European official guidance is discretionary about the interpretation of disproportionate
costs which consequently can be interpreted and applied differently across Member States.
The aim of this research is to clarify the definition of disproportionality and to convey a
consistent interpretation that is fully compliant with the economic requirements of the
Directive, whilst also being mindful of the principles of pollution control and welfare
economics theory. On this basis, standard-setting derogations should aim to reach socially
optimal decisions and be judged with reference to a combination of explicit cost and benefit
curves – an application of Cost-Benefits Analysis - and financial affordability tests.
Arguably, these tools should be more influential in the development of derogation decisions
across member states, including Scotland.
The WFD is expected to have extensive effects on Scottish agriculture, which is faced with
the challenge of maintaining its competitiveness, while protecting water resources. Focusing
the analysis on the socio-economic impacts of achieving water diffuse pollution targets for
the sector, a series of independent tests for the assessment of disproportionate costs are
proposed and evaluated. These are: i) development of abatement cost curves for agricultural
Phosphorus (P) mitigation options for different farm systems; ii) a financial characterisation
of farming in Scotland and impact on profits of achieving different P loads reductions at
farm level are investigated in order to explore issues on "affordability" and "ability to pay"
by the sector; and iii) an investigation of benefits assessment using discrete choice modelling
to explore public preferences for pollution control and measure non-market benefits of WFD
water quality improvements in Scotland.
Results from these tests provide benchmarks for the definition of disproportionate costs and
are relevant to other aspects of the economic analysis of water use in Scotland. This study
helps to clarify the nature of agricultural water use and how it leads to social tradeoffs with
other non agricultural users. Ultimately, this perspective adds to the debate of how and
where water is best employed to maximize its value to society.|
|Keywords: ||environmental regulation|
Water Framework Directive
|Appears in Collections:||Global Change Research Institute PhD thesis collection|
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