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Commission Decision of 17 August 2005 on the establishment of a register of sites to form the intercalibration network in accordance with Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (notified under document number C(2005) 3140) (2005/646/EC)

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Commission Decision

of 17 August 2005

on the establishment of a register of sites to form the intercalibration network in accordance with Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council

(notified under document number C(2005) 3140)

(2005/646/EC)

THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community,

Having regard to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy(1), and in particular section 1.4.1(vii) of Annex V thereto,

Whereas:

(1) Article 4(1)(a)(ii) of Directive 2000/60/EC requires the Member States to protect, enhance and restore all bodies of surface water with the aim of achieving good surface water status at the latest 15 years after the date of entry into force of the Directive, subject to certain exceptions, in accordance with the provisions laid down in Annex V thereto. Article 4(1)(a)(iii) of Directive 2000/60/EC requires the Member States to protect and enhance all artificial and heavily modified bodies of water, with the aim of achieving good ecological potential and good surface water chemical status at the latest 15 years from the date of entry into force of the Directive, subject to certain exceptions, in accordance with the provisions laid down in Annex V thereto. In accordance with point (i) of Section 1.4.1. of Annex V to Directive 2000/60/EC, the references to ecological status should be construed as references to ecological potential as regards artificial and heavily modified water bodies.

(2) Section 1.4.1 of Annex V to Directive 2000/60/EC provides a process to ensure the comparability between Member States of biological monitoring results, being a central part of the ecological status classification. This requires the results of the Member States’ monitoring and classification systems to be compared through an intercalibration network comprised of monitoring sites in each Member State and in each ecoregion of the Community. The Directive requires the Member States to collect, as appropriate, the necessary information for the sites included in the intercalibration network, in order to enable the assessment of the consistency of the national classification system with the normative definitions of Annex V to Directive 2000/60/EC and the comparability of the classification systems between the Member States.

(3) For the purposes of the establishment of the register of sites to form the intercalibration network referred to in section 1.4.1(vii) of Annex V to Directive 2000/60/EC, Member States were asked to select sites based on their interpretation of the normative definitions of the high-good and good-moderate class boundaries. For those sites, notification of the current provisional classification status was required. Each Member State was asked to provide, if possible, relevant information for, at least, two sites for each of the two class boundaries for each of the common surface water body types selected for the intercalibration network, and present in its national territory. The Member States were also invited to indicate sites that are close to the classification borders but not necessarily precisely on the borders as provisionally classified by the current national assessment methods.

(4) In the selection process, Member States have also been requested to consider all available information on pressures and biological quality elements. The pressures and quality elements selected to be the focus of the intercalibration are the ones considered to be most commonly monitored.

(5) The relevant data and information relating to each site submitted by the Member States for the purpose of the register of sites includes, inter alia, the description of the site and the type criteria, the pressure information, the data availability for all biological and supporting physico-chemical elements, the availability of reference conditions, the provisional classification status of the sites, the criteria used for the selection of the sites and the description of the methodology used for quality assessment of the biological elements.

(6) The activity being carried out in the field of ecological status classification should contribute to overcome some limitations and lack of certainty of the current approach, and could lead to a reviewing of the register of sites in the future, particularly taking into account the results of the intercalibration exercise. Such a review would accomplish higher confidence in the intercalibration results, and greater precision, and thus contribute to the better achievement of the objectives of Directive 2000/60/EC. Further reviews may also prove to be necessary during the initial phases of the River Basin Management Plan cycle, as new evidence may arise during the iterative planning process foreseen in Article 13 of Directive 2000/60/EC.

(7) Section 1.4.1(v) of Annex V to Directive 2000/60/EC requires the network to consist of sites selected by the Member States from a range of surface water body types present within each ecoregion. In order to ensure the comparability of surface waters between Member States with similar water body types it is necessary, in connection to the establishment of the register of sites, to divide the sites according to their Geographical Intercalibration Group, consisting of groups of Member States sharing particular surface water body types. This would allow each group to compare its results and to perform the intercalibration exercise among its members.

(8) Since Bulgaria, Norway and Romania share many transboundary river basins in common with Member States, these countries will participate, on a voluntary basis, in the intercalibration exercise, and therefore have proposed a list of sites following the same procedure as Member States.

(9) The measures provided for in this Decision are in accordance with the opinion of the Committee referred to in Article 21(1) of Directive 2000/60/EC,

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

(1)

OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1. Directive as amended by Decision No 2455/2001/EC (OJ L 331, 15.12.2001, p. 1).

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