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CECAN Fellow: David Benson

CECAN Fellowship: Evaluating Implementation of the Water Framework Directive

Mentor – Dr Karen Scott, University of Exeter

The research will seek to develop new methods for evaluating the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000 in conjunction with government policy makers (Defra) to identify lessons for policy learning. A so-called ‘third generation’ environmental policy instrument (Benson et al. 2013), the WFD compels EU member states to develop river basin management plans for attaining ‘good’ ecological status of waters (ibid.). Although implementation issues concerning the Directive have been studied in previous research (for example, Benson et al. 2014), more recent data on the second management planning cycle (between 2015-2021) is lacking, while the WFD has been identified as a priority evaluative area by Defra and also CECAN itself. A case study developing new insights into evaluating implementation would therefore be timely and build on pre-existing research. This research is likely to attract significant interest amongst policy makers, both in the UK but also globally where similar implementation concerns are apparent within river basin management planning.

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