Cost-Benefit Assessment for Identifying Exemptions Based on Disproportionate Costs According to Art. 4 Water Framework Directive
For decisions on exemptions from the objectives of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) the application of cost-benefit analyses would be reasonable. Due to methodological difficulties this is not yet possible. Against this background the project aims at the development of a practicable approach – the so-called qualitative cost-benefit analysis – for the integration of non-monetary costs and benefits into the assessment process. The results will be made accessible to practitioners through a handbook.
This project is carried out for the German Working Group on water issues of the Federal States and the Federal Government (LAWA) and aims at the development of a practicable method for the weighting of costs and benefits of measures under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) : the so called Cost-Benefit Assessment. The developed methodology will not need to express all advantages and disadvantages of the measures in monetary terms. Instead non-monetary valuations will also be used for assessments. This methodology is expected to simplify the decision-making process on exemptions under the WFD. The core issue in this context is the disproportionality assessment: Is the expected benefit of attaining WFD objectives not proportional to the costs such that an extension of deadlines or less strict environmental targets would be appropriate? Can disproportionality be prevented by leaving out certain measures or distributing the implementation of measures over an expanded time span?
The suggested procedure for a Cost-Benefit Assessment will build upon the traditional CBA and should especially be used for the implementation of the WFD. Accordingly, the project takes up two issues of importance for the praxis:
- The development of a procedure for a qualitative CBA that allows the incorporation of all benefits and costs.
- The development of a handbook for the application of the method in practice.
Ecologic takes part in a variety of work packages of this eight-month project and will concentrate on the analysis and evaluation of experiences at the European level.
The project itself adds to the experiences gathered in the project "Disproportionate Costs in the Water Framework Directive" for the German Working Group on water issues of the Federal States and the Federal Government (LAWA) as well as to work on cost-benefit analyses relating to the WFD.
The two projects for the LAWA jointly provide a comprehensive concept for the justification of exemptions under the WFD to be used in the 2009 reporting cycle.