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Government launches campaign to raise public awareness of water directive

MEMBERS OF the public are to be encouraged to act to protect their water environment by a major government advertising campaign later this year.

The campaign is part of the Department of the Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) effort to raise awareness of the European Union's Water Framework Directive, which came into force last week.

DEFRA has been criticised for failing to consult widely enough on implementation.

'There is an air of complacency, ' said Jacob Tompkins, policy adviser for industry representative Water UK.

The new directive requires the UK to manage its water on a catchment basis using river basin management plans (NCE 22 May 2003).

Catchments must work towards achieving 'good ecological status' by implementing programmes of measures to improve water quality.

It is not yet known who will pay for these measures but the UK has until 2012 to implement them.

Water UK expressed concern that not enough consultation and debate has been conducted with industry and the general public.

'Given the importance of this directive, not enough people know about it, ' said Tompkins.

'There is a danger of alienating the public, ' he said.

FIND OUT MORE The most up to date information about implementation of the Water Framework Directive will be available at the NCE organised conference 'Implementing the Water Framework Directive - practical strategies to prepare you for the new legislation'.

The event is to take place on 5 February and speakers will include Daniel Instone of DEFRA and Dr Peter Fox of the Environment Agency.

For more information go to www. nceplus.co.uk/wfd, call our conferences department on 020 7505 6044, or see the advert on page 4.

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