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The Water Framework Directive and Spatial Planning in Sweden - Time for Legal Integration!
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7617-4208
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Spatial planning activities plays a crucial role in the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) (‘WFD’) and the achievement of its environmental objectives. In Sweden, spatial planning is regulated foremost through the Planning and Building Act (2010:900) (‘PBA’). In this article, the lack of external integration of the integrated planning and adaptive water management system of the WFD into Swedish spatial planning law is addressed, and necessary legislative changes are discussed. The obligations for the municipalities in this regard are analysed in the light of our general legal obligations under EU law, particularly as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’). In Weser, the WFD’s environmental objectives, including the obligation to prevent deterioration, were declared as legally binding in each stage of implementation. This entails that in each decision-making situation, including spatial planning decisions or local building permits that might have adverse impact on the aquatic environment, the WFD environmental objectives must be complied with. However, the result reveals a clear lack of legal integration between the freshwater governance system and the legal framework for spatial planning in Sweden. As a consequence, water quality aspects are at great risk of being ignored in planning activities at the local or regional level, making the WFD’s environmental objectives significantly more difficult to achieve under the current legal framework.

National Category
Law Law and Society
Research subject
Law
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-71157OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-71157DiVA, id: diva2:1254514
Funder
Luleå University of TechnologyAvailable from: 2018-10-09 Created: 2018-10-09 Last updated: 2018-10-09
In thesis
1. Law in Integrated and Adaptive Governance of Freshwaters: A Study of the Swedish Implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Law in Integrated and Adaptive Governance of Freshwaters: A Study of the Swedish Implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Water is essential for sustaining life and providing ecosystem services for different human needs. In 2000, the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) was adopted against the background of increasing pressure on the waters of Europe. With the WFD, a new approach to governing freshwater resources within the Union was introduced, aimed at facilitating a shift from fragmented and sectoral water policies to a more holistic, integrated and adaptive governance system at the hydrological scale of river basins. This thesis has examined the Swedish implementation of the directive, with a primary aim to determine whether the Swedish formal institutional framework and water administration are sufficient to fully implement the freshwater governance model provided by the WFD and achieve the environmental results prescribed. The thesis consists of two main parts, where the first provides the contextual framework for the thesis, and the second part consists of four appended papers, which all in different ways contribute to achieving the overall purpose of the thesis. The thesis is founded on legal analysis and qualitative text interpretation of various sources of law, with emphasis on the analysis of national law in light of the WFD as well as EU legal principles and case law developed by the CJEU.

The results show that the Swedish freshwater governance system and formal institutional framework encompasses opportunities as well as barriers for implementing the WFD. The governance arrangements reflect the hydrological requirement of the directive, and the Swedish system holds good opportunities for participation in decision-making procedures as well as adaptive potential, as the general legal framework for environmental and water law contains a relatively high degree of flexibility or adaptable rules.However, when analysing the Swedish freshwater governance system in light of four key functions (objectives and direction; administrative structure; adaptive capacity; and control and enforcement) identified in this study as crucial for the formal institutional framework to deliver in such integrated, adaptive and multi-level governance systems the WFD represents, the results reveal that central aspects of all four key functions are missing in the Swedish system. Due to these shortcomings, the overall conclusion is that no full regime shift towards the hydrological, adaptive and integrated system of the WFD has occurred in Sweden; the system for water planning and governance is not clearly reflected in the formal institutional framework nor sufficiently underpinned by the administrative structure at national level. Ten different proposals are presented to remedy the shortcomings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2018
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keywords
water framework directive, integrated, adaptive governance, adaptive management, law, environmental law, freshwater
National Category
Law and Society Law (excluding Law and Society)
Research subject
Law
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-71158 (URN)978-91-7790-226-3 (ISBN)978-91-7790-227-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-12-07, A109, Universitetsområdet Porsön, Luleå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Luleå University of Technology
Available from: 2018-10-10 Created: 2018-10-09 Last updated: 2018-12-28Bibliographically approved

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