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February 4, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

Waterways for Growth: Towards Europe 2020

Several Waterways Forward partners have also been involved in the ‘Waterways for Growth’ project – an EU funded project, recently completed by 15 partners from 6 countries around the North Sea and supported by the Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme.  The project aimed to create a framework for the sustainable development of inland waterways and develop best practice in:

The inland waterway network of canals, navigable rivers and lakes forms a significant and distinctive element of the infrastructure of the North Sea Region.  The waterways were constructed and developed to transport goods, linking inland regions with the sea.  Now there is increasing interest in the multiple benefits that waterways can deliver in terms of enhancing the quality of life of the Region’s inhabitants.

Waterways for Growth explored how our inland waterways can best support economic growth, through encouraging business activity and by creating attractive places near which people can live and work.  All this is underpinned by the sustainable management and development of the waterways and their surroundings.

Inland waterways cross a range of policy areas at European, national, regional and local levels – transport, regeneration, business & entrepreneurship, health, cultural heritage, the natural environment and climate change.  The aim of Waterways for Growth was to create a transnational Framework to support a more strategic and consistent approach to the development of our multifunctional inland waterway resource.  For further  information on the project click here to view the project website.

Waterways for Growth followed on from and builds on ideas developed through the earlier Interreg IIIB North Sea Region project Canal Link – see www.canal-link.com/.

February 4, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

“The history of Europe’s waterways is interwoven with the adjacent landscape….”

The following post by Claudio Repossi is in response to the earlier post Europe’s waterway heritage – part of the ‘cultural infrastructure’.  Here he develops the connection between Milan’s Navigli network and development of the proposed Salterio Museum complex.

The history of Europe’s waterways is interwoven with the adjacent landscape – here in Lombardy we have the Navigli system. Over the course of history, their hydraulic and technical complexity determined the structure of settlements, rural organization of the countryside and urban planning, playing a decisive role in the economic development of the region.

In Lombardy, for example, countless homes of the nobility were located along the banks of the Navigli and contributed to the development of the canals themselves and the historic centres which sprang up along the canal and the surrounding area. These historic sites, together with the surrounding natural environment, are treasures to be safeguarded and further developed to support tourism, culture, and the economy.

I would like to focus on re-evaluating the cultural heritage of the Navigli and other European waterways and preserve their natural surroundings and historical context.  The Navigli System is endowed with landscape and environmental resources which make up the identity of the Region. These elements must be recognized for the valuable asset they offer and be safeguarded against the risk factors such as deterioration, neglected conservation and inappropriate use of the surrounding area.

naviglio_grande_veduta

The inter-relationship woven between the historical and memorable values, the natural features and the farming tradition gives the area, crossed by the Navigli System, a complex environmental identity which is clearly perceived and deeply felt by the local populations.

Local manual labour, which over the years has enriched the canals and their surroundings, has turned this complex system into something that can be considered a work of art; something which bears witness to the genius and skilled workmanship over the centuries.  From this perspective the Navigli System may be considered part of the cultural heritage and regional identity leading to a harmonious improvement of the canals themselves thus improving the living standards of local communities.

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Together, the European waterways are a cultural infrastructure and offer European cultural routes to be explored by enthusiasts and lovers of waterways giving an opportunity to enhance the development of those regions.  It is essential to analyze the interests of stakeholders in order to develop policies of governance and plan instruments in such a way as to create opportunities (in the heart of Lombardy or another European area) for smart and sustainable development of adjacent regions and waterfront and improvement in the standard of living.”  Source: Claudio Repossi, Milan.

A museum for everyone: the local community’s involvement 

To illustrate Claudio’s comments here is information on the development of a new museum located to the south of the Milan. The museum complex is being developed from one of the Navigli’s neighbouring “cascines” or farmhouses. These are historic buildings which are now finding new leases of life either as museums, sites for social enterprise or run on ecological and recreational lines that take in tourists – some even have spas. It is hoped that the redevelopment of these cascines will help draw investment into the Navigli system and offer sites of interest for trip boats.  The proposed Salterio Museum complex  is planned ahead of Milan’s Expo 2015.  Salterio Museum – “Officina del gusto” – is an opportunity for the recovery of  historical identity and monumental architecture located on the edge of  Milan’s canal network.

Casine Salterio before development

Casine Salterio before development

This project is organized around two main themes:

  • agriculture + food
  • memory + landscape.

The Museum will host a media library specialized on agriculture, food, environment and landscape, conference areas and meeting rooms, exhibition area and a documentation center on the history of the territory and landscape of Milan. These activities are complemented by the promotion of local products and educational initiatives with laboratories and workshops based on food education, environmental education, protection and enhancement of the landscape.

A loan was obtained from the Municipality of Zibido who are involved in an European Regional Development Fund project under the ‘Competitiveness: Protection and enhancement of cultural heritage’ strand. In addition, the private sector has contributed to the City of Zibido for the restoration of the building that will host the museum. Other resources are being acquired.

The municipality of Zibido began a series of activities to build a shared identity before the opening of Salterio Museum (currently the works of architectural restoration of the building are ongoing.  It was decided to involve citizens, associations, operators, farmers and especially children.

salterio_villa

The activities to be undertaken in 2013 are:

  • students to develop a local cookbook interviewing old people about recipes, ingredients, culinary traditions, memories of places, landscapes, etc
  • collection of books, pamphlets, periodicals, brochures, manuals of food, gastronomy, traditions to be organized for the library
  • collection of kitchen equipment and agricultural small objects.
  • workshop to be developed for local farmers to define a strategy of mutual support –  a Memorandum and Agreement for the development of synergistic activities in the field of culture and business
  • website dedicated to the “Salterio Museum” – under construction
  • international competition to create the museum logo open to students of European schools of architecture and design

museo_sezioni

With thanks to Prof. Arch. G. Matteo Mai, Professor, Faculty of Architecture, Politecnico di Milan and Head of Cultural, Scientific and Management for the Salterio Museum project for source material and illustrations.

January 28, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

Tales of the Riverbank: Vidzeme, Latvia river regeneration.

The following article describes how local stakeholders of the Waterways Forward project partner, Vidzeme in Latvia, have used the development of a Regional Stakeholder Platform (RSP) and a Regional Action Plan to support the regeneration of local river systems.

Visualisation of Non-intervention approach in rivers: Eutrophication, Sedimentation,Tunnelling, Beaver

Visualisation of Non-intervention approach in rivers: Eutrophication, Sedimentation,Tunnelling, Beaver

Vidzeme has many small rivers which are suitable for tourism and recreation, but large parts of them are neglected – with abatis and dead trees, the banks are covered with reed.  So it’s important to inform local communities how to maintain these rivers. At Vidzeme’s Regional Stakeholder Platform (RSP) meetings they held practical workshops and visits to the riverbank to tackle the problem. This involved abatis removal and excavation of the Siberian hogweed. Local people got involved and such was the interest that it featured on Latvian television.
http://intranet.vidzeme.lv/images/Upload/Dalies_ar_failiem/wf_upju_talka.7z

Giving back  river functionality: before and after images Vidseme, Latvia

Giving back river functionality: before and after images Vidzeme, Latvia

At a subsequent RSP meeting the group were updated on further activities in the Waterways Forward project, their Regional Action Plans, ways to increase tourism and recreation use of their inland waterways, and how to make these a nature and business resource rather than merely a ‘protective zone’. This message was stressed to representatives of municipalities, waterways owners, and managers, who were encouraged to make better use of these water resources. Participants were able to see waterways planning issues in another dimension. Experts shared their knowledge how to involve the public in the planning process by new and attractive approaches.  Environmental experts Loreta Urtāne and Andris Urtāns gave a lecture on the waterways potential uses for local authorities and presented Vidzeme’s RAP and guidelines.

January 28, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

European Commission Communication – LIFE’s “Blueprint for Water Resources”

The latest LIFE Focus publication highlights the relevance of LIFE Environment project actions in helping to implement EU water policy. “LIFE’s Blueprint for water resources” is a practical companion piece to the recent European Commission Communication, ‘The Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources’.  EU policy has made contributions to the protection of water resources across Europe. The newly-launched ‘Water Blueprint’ is designed to help overcome barriers to the implementation of existing EU water policy goals.  

Blueprintedit

As well as an introduction to the policy agenda and an overview of LIFE’s role with regard to Europe’s water resources, this LIFE Focus publication takes a look at projects targeting five key areas, each of which ties in with the recommendations of the ‘Water Blueprint’:

  • water quality and quantity
  • water-related green infrastructure
  • increasing water efficiency
  • water re-use
  • management tools for effective water use

With 100 projects in total, there are  practical examples of ways in which water-related policy can be implemented, not only to achieve the desired environmental goals, but also to provide added social and economic value across the EU.

The publication features, “Restoration on the Danube” in the ‘water-related green infrastructure section’.  More than 30 LIFE projects have restored the natural river and floodplain dynamics over hundreds of kilometres of the Danube.  The Danube River Basin covers 800 000 km2, or 10% of continental Europe.  Extending into 19 countries, it is considered the most international river basin in the World.

Source: International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR)

 

January 21, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

Europe’s waterway heritage – part of the ‘cultural infrastructure’.

Support for the use of Europe’s waterways for cultural projects and ‘protection and preservation of cultural heritage’ is highlighted in the policy recommendations developed throughout the WF project.  The full list of policy recommendations can be viewed here.

Recommendation  – Policy for Culture
The Waterways Forward partners noted that EU funding is already allocated specifically for protection and preservation of cultural heritage. Europe’s Waterway heritage is part of the ‘cultural infrastructure’ of Europe, contributing to economic attractiveness, job opportunities and quality of life.
The WF partners:

  1. Recommend increased recognition in EU policy for the unique cultural heritage of Europe’s waterways and to build on this heritage as a driver for economic growth and developing community capacity e.g. through tourism (linked to the EU tourism framework) regeneration of waterfronts or creation of a “sense of place”.
  2. Recommend to promote exchanges / dialogue between inland waterway cultural operators in the context of common heritage (including countries outside the EU that have been influenced by European waterway development)
  3. Recommend support for the development of new & social media approaches to encourage tourism based on waterway heritage, potentially linked to existing initiatives such as the European Routes of Industrial Heritage


This year’s art installation at Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands has been titled Voyage by its creators Aether and Hemera, Claudio Benghi and Gloria Ronchi. 

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Every year an art installation at Canary Wharf is put on as part of the area’s award winning Winter Lights programme of temporary and permanent visual arts. The boats in this year’s display feature a dynamic system whereby passersby can alter the colour of the illuminations on their mobile phones, meaning that you can play an integral part of the artwork.

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This year’s display is set to be one of their most ambitious yet, and the interactive approach will get attendees more involved than ever so be a part of the action and head to the latest art installation at Canary Wharf.

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Photographers Sean Batten and Ian Docwra .

January 21, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

Rivers can help reduce the Urban Heat Island effect

The Urban Heat Island effect describes the relatively higher temperatures found in urban areas compared with rural surroundings, and is the result of several different factors. Building materials that absorb heat, the loss of moisture in the air due to reduced vegetation and paving over soil, as well as sources of heat, such as traffic, can all contribute to the Urban Heat Island. 

In this study, researchers recorded temperature and humidity between April and August at 12 sites located at different distances from a small river running through the city of Sheffield, UK. Sites were located in areas of different ‘urban form’; either in an open square, an open street, a closed street or completely enclosed by buildings. To quantify the effect of the river on temperatures, these measurements were compared with another site, which was distant from the river but similar in all other properties except that of altitude, which was accounted for in the analysis.

river restoration1

URBAN RIVER REHABILITATION – The POLIS programme established, as main goals, the improvement of life quality, through urban and environmental interventions, increasing attractiveness and competitiveness in the national urban system. Since the rehabilitation programme favoured the creation of public open space, water played an important role in the choice of the intervention sites.
Among the projects sites included intervention on the river and river corridor.

The study demonstrated that the river did have a significant cooling effect, especially at higher ambient air temperatures. It led to an average reduction of 1°C during temperatures higher than 20°C. Cooling only occurred during the daytime and ranged from 0.25 to 1.82°C. The effect was also greater in May (between 1.01-1.82°C), rather than June (between 0.25-0.98°C), which was thought to be a result of higher water temperatures in the summer months.

The cooling effect did not extend beyond 30 metres from the river and was negligible at 40 metres. However, at shorter distances, the amount of cooling was significantly affected by urban form. Streets which were open to the river, combined with river banks with more vegetation, led to more effective cooling, which was sustained over a greater distance. For example, in an open street cooling was 1.2°C greater than a closed street.

The researchers conclude that rivers do have cooling effects and that future policies to uncover underground rivers could be of value in urban environments where high temperatures can have a negative effect on health and wellbeing. However, they stress that urban form surrounding the river corridor is more important than the simple presence or absence of a river and that cooling effects can be greatly enhanced by careful consideration of urban design.

Source:

  1. Hathway, E. A. and Sharples, S. (2012). The interaction of rivers and urban form in mitigating the urban heat island effect: a UK case study. Building and Environment. 58: 14-22. DOI 10.1016/j.buildenv.2012.06.013.
  2. Saraiva M.G, Ramos I.L, Vaz L, Bernardo F, Condessa B.  TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY IN REHABILITATING URBAN RIVER LANDSCAPES. CROSSING ECOLOGY WITH SOCIAL CONCERNS, 4th ECRR Conference on River Restoration
January 15, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

Waterways Forward project short films review

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The following is a comprehensive list of interviews and short films made during the 3 years of the Waterways Forward project.  The first 3 were made to support the communication of the multi-functional benefits of waterways for Europe and how they support the 3 pillars of the EU2020 strategy….to support Smarts, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth targets for 2020.  The remaining films cover a number of themes….biodiversity, maintenance of ecological water standards, flood prevention/alleviation, sustainable transport and energy, tourism, heritage, stakeholder engagement and issues relating to the governance of Europe’s waterways.

Click on the links to view each film.

Waterways Forward: EU2020 Inclusive Growth

An animation made by Room60 in collaboration with Landscape Interface Studio, Kingston University for the Waterways Forward project.


Europe’s inland waterways are drivers for inclusive growth.

Fostering high-employment, delivering economic, social and territorial cohesion…..improving skills, flexibility and security in the labour market, enhancing the quality of jobs and conditions for work creation…..reducing poverty by identifying best practices, promoting learning, coordinating national actions, establishing EU-wide rules and providing funds.”

 Waterways Forward: EU2020 Sustainable Growth

A film made by Victoria Rivera in collaboration with Landscape Interface Studio, Kingston University for the Waterways Forward project.

Europe’s inland waterways are drivers for sustainable growth. 

Promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy….supporting a shift towards a resource efficient, low-carbon economy that offers opportunities for sustainable growth……..maintaining a strong, diversified and competitive industrial base that offers jobs in a low-carbon economy.”

 

Waterways Forward: EU2020 Smart Growth

An animation made by Mariana Santos in collaboration with Landscape Interface Studio, Kingston University for the Waterways Forward project.

Europe’s inland waterways are drivers for smart growth.
Creating sustainable economic and social benefits by developing an economy based on knowledge, innovation, plus mobility for young Europeans to study, train, and work in business across the EU……turning ideas into jobs, green growth and social progress with support for innovative businesses.”

Waterways Forward — Environment & Climate Masterclass

Waterways Forward — EU Interreg IVC project
Environment & Climate Masterclass

The Waterways Forward Masterclass session in Dublin Sept 2011 was supported by Dr Ronald Waterman, international expert on water management from the Netherlands.

This session concluded that there is a need to:-
– Address differences in applying the European Water Framework Directive in each country,
– Share information on environment & climate change between waterway organisations across Europe
– Expand the work on climate change adaptation being carried out
– Consider new methodologies for the sustainable management of waterways
– Jointly share / develop approaches to dealing with alien invasive species
– Consider how EU-supported agro-environment schemes can be better targeted to deal with problems on inland waterways resulting from agricultural practice

 Senior Environment Officer at Waterways Ireland

Paula Treacy, Senior Environment Officer at Waterways Ireland, describes how Waterways Ireland conform to the Water Framework Directive and how Waterways Ireland’s participation in the EU Interreg IVC ‘Waterways Forward’ project has allowed exchange of biodiversity and ecological good practices across all the 17 European project partners

Andrew Stumpf, Canal and River Trust discusses the Olympic Park Waterways

Andrew Stumpf. Head of National Programmes at The Canal and River Trust talks to Landscape Interface Studio about the Olympic site and the contribution of canals and waterways to the Olympic Park’s landscape. The newly formed charity, Canal and River Trust, are one of 17 partners within the Waterways Forward Interreg IVC project.

David Edwards-May of Inland Waterways International

David Edwards-May of Inland Waterways International talks about his contribution to the EU Interreg IVC Waterways Forward project. Acting as consultant to the Serbian partner, PWMC Vode Vojvodine, David discusses the multi functional uses – including waterways tourism and transport – of Serbian waterways and how they can be developed to promote and support sustainable growth across Europe

Social cohesion, capacity building and all that stuff!!

Social cohesion,capacity building and all that stuff!!……Andrew Stumpf, Head of National Programmes at British Waterways talks with Landscape Interface Studio, Kingston University describing British Waterways’ contribution to the Waterways Forward project and analyses how canals and waterways support European society and economy in general.

Andrew discusses how waterways can contribute to peoples’ lives, cultural history and society. This recording was one of a series which took place during a partners’ meeting in Budapest, Hungary in January 2012.

John McKeown, Waterways Ireland discusses Waterways Forward Project

Landscape Interface Studio, Kingston University interviewed John McKeown, Regional Manager of Waterways Ireland (WI)- partner in the Interreg IVC funded ‘Waterways Forward’ project – about development of a national/regional action plan and knowledge exchange within the partnership. This is one of a series of interviews which took place at the recent partners’ meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

John describes how implementation of various European Directives – Water Framework Directive and Habitats Directive – are being interpreted and put into practice by Waterways Ireland and how conversations with other Waterways Forward partners is allowing WI to better understand and apply the EU legislation to their national waterways network.

Martijn Kramer, Association Regio Water – Waterways Forward project partner

Martijn Kramer for Association Regio Water – Waterways Forward Interreg IVC project partner describes the aspirations for the project, present contributions and expected outcomes. The interview was filmed during the WF Partners’ Meeting, Budapest Jan 2012 during a break-out interview session run by Landscape Interface Studio, Kingston University.

River Suir – “Lay of the Land”

The Lay of the Land’ was a series of community participation workshops developed and facilitated by Landscape Interface Studio, Kingston Universityto reveal the potential of the River Suir during the Clonmel Junction Festival summer 2011. “The project is a great opportunity for the community to focus on the river — one of the key assets in the county — and to develop it as an economic cultural amenity for both the community and visitors alike.”

The Suir River Café was collaboration between South Tipperary County Council Heritage Office, Landscape Interface Studio (LIS) and local artist Lyn Mather. It was a novel interactive Café where members of the public could observe, discuss, engage and participate in a number of outreach workshops led by the LIS team. The Café was supported by South Tipperary County Council (STCC) the Heritage Council and Waterways Forward.

Waterways Forward workshop, Burgos, Spain 20-21 January 2011. 

Rivert Suir Seminar, 31st January 2012, Carrig Hotel, Carrick-on-Suir.

River Suir Action Plan in South Tipperary which was kicked-off by a seminar event – a follow up to requests from local people during the Suir River Cafe –part of the Clonmel Junction Festival and community workshops in Ardfinnan, Cahir, Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir undertaken by Landscape Interface Studio, Kingston University and local artist Lynne Mather on behalf of South Tipperary County Council and the Heritage Council. The River Suir Seminar was an opportunity to share river information, to hear about all the projects that are underway and to encourage local people to become involved and develop an action plan for the River Suir

River Suir Action Plan

 

 Join the Waterways Forward Linkedin group and you can vote for your favourite short film.  

 

 

January 14, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

Invasive Species – The Cost to the Green Economy

The following post adds information to the earlier blog EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy: Invasive species present threat to waterways biodiversity.  The information and slides below have been taken from a recent presentation, “Invasive Species – The Cost to the Green Economy” by Paula Treacy, Senior Environment Officer, Waterways Ireland during Waterways Forward Partners’ meeting in Paris December 2012.  

The presentation highlighted the potential income generated by waterways in Ireland  balanced  against the cost of attempting to maintaining an ecologically balanced waterway system.  The threat of invasive species overwhelming vast lengths of the Waterways Ireland’s system is demonstrated in economic terms by the figures presented in this presentation.  A balance between making optimal use of environmental resources, while maintaining essential ecological processes is essential.  WI strive to ensure viable, long-term economic operations whilst providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders.

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The figures are striking:

  • total income in the region of 1.2 billion euros has been calculated from boating, walking, cycling, angling and other water-based tourism.
  • cost of removing Elodea nuttallii, a species of water weed from one section of the Upper Lough Erne Navigation in 2010 was calculated as £91,000.
  • removal of Crassula helmsii, from 2.2 km of the Grand Canal cost WI 170,000 euros.

To assist the monitoring of invasive species, Waterways Ireland:

  • Employ Inland Fisheries Ireland to monitor and aid in the control of invasive species in the Grand Canal, Royal Canal, Barrow Navigation and Shannon Erne Waterway
  • Undertake monitoring for invasive species under the Water Framework Directive monitoring programme for Canals
  • Partner in CAISIE EU Life+ project which is involved in the elimination and control of 10 invasive species in the Grand Canal and Barrow Navigation

Information is communicated and exchanged by their participation in the All Ireland Invasive Species Group, increase education through stakeholder engagement and are working to introduce bio-security protocols.  In addition, they are co-funding research on Asian Clams in the Barrow Navigation and Shannon River and research to control zebra mussels on the Grand Canal at Tullamore Harbour.

Please see details of the following conference due to take place later this year in Galway, Ireland.

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January 10, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

Water resources in Europe in the context of vulnerability – European Environment Agency Report

report

The Vulnerability of Europe’s waters is increasing. The natural cycle of water availability is now coming under threat from a variety of different pressures, exposing water ecosystems and societies to man-made shortages and excesses of water. This European Environment Agency report details the pressures on rivers and other freshwater ecosystems and examines options for integrated and sustainable water resource management, including restoration.

The main themes covered:

  • Today’s threats to water’s natural variability
  • Managing water sustainably — agriculture and regional policy
  • Managing water sustainably — innovation, economics and information

Click to download full report

Water plays a central role in the functioning of the biosphere and in supporting all life. Freshwater ecosystems are particularly important, providing a unique and diverse array of services upon which human society depends. These services include ‘provisioning’ services, such as the provision of water for agriculture and hydropower. They also include ‘regulating’ services, where water helps regulate our environment, such as by flood control or the breaking down of pollutants.
If our freshwater ecosystems are to continue to provide these services it is essential that there is water in sufficient quantity and of sufficient quality. This report primarily focuses on the
problem of water quantity in Europe.
Water quantity varies naturally according to the seasons, the geography of Europe’s regions, and the different types of water bodies (including lakes, rivers, wetlands and sub-surface groundwater bodies). This natural variation can be seen in periodic flooding and droughts, both of which have long been a feature of Europe’s landscapes.  Many ecosystems, habitats and species types have evolved to deal with precisely this type of variation in the hydrological cycle.

January 7, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy: Invasive species present threat to waterways biodiversity

Invasive species present one of the greatest threats to biodiversity including waterways both in the EU and globally, and is now the subject of  European Commission legislative proposals.  

The DAISIE project, supported under the EU’s Sixth Research Framework Programme,  identified 12,046 non-native species present in Europe, of which 10-15% are expected to be invasive, with negative economic, human health or ecological impacts. A 2009 assessment estimated the cost of invasive species damage and control measures at €12 billion per year in Europe; costs that are likely to increase as the number and impact of invasive species continue to grow.

Whilst EU instruments exist to deal with other pressures on biodiversity, until the 2012 resolution , there has been  no comprehensive instrument at this level to tackle invasive species. EU policies and legislation covering nature, plant and animal health, water and trade regulations provided part of the solution but gaps remained in terms of both the species covered and their potential harmful effects. At the end of 2008, the European Commission adopted a Communication (COM (2008) 789) presenting policy options for an EU Strategy on invasive species, which included the option of a dedicated legislative instrument. A more recent publication, ‘Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020’ (COM(2011)244), supported this approach and set specific targets for addressing invasive species at EU level.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, a follow-up to ‘Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020’ as tabled by the European Commission in May 2011.  The full text can be seen below by clicking on the link:

The main objective of this new legislative instrument will be to minimise the negative impact of the worst invasive species on EU biodiversity, through a combination of measures designed to prevent invasive species entering and spreading within EU territory; for early detection and eradication of new species; and for the control, containment or management of established species in order to minimise negative impacts.

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Waterways Forward partner, Waterways Ireland has acknowledged that one of its main issues is the protection of its canals and river waters and is required to achieve Good Ecological Potential (GEP) by 2015 under the requirements of  the EU Water Framework Directive.  The good practice Implementation of  Water Framework Directive for Canals , prepared by Landscape Interface Studio, Kingston University on behalf of the Waterways Forward project, sets out how WI have implemented a monitoring system on their waterways network.

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Paula Treacy, Senior Environment Officer at Waterways Ireland describes the value of this process,

Our main challenge has been about the ecology of canals: (1) what is good (2) how do we balance and (3) how can we protect. Our business is to provide navigation infrastructure but we have also acknowledged the overall ecological value of the canal systems in their own right. It is not an easy process because establishing an ecological rating system on man-made infrastructure is new to us, and probably throughout Europe. Additionally we are working on a  project with other European countries to establish a combined partnership tool for rating the ecology of canals in different countries. There has been tremendous learning in this process because we are dealing with unlimited variables.”

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