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Implementing of the Floods Directive

Requirements of the Directive

As the Floods Directive has now entered into force the implementation of the Directive is starting, and the timetable is clearly set out. The Directive which applies to all kinds of floods (river, lakes, flash floods, urban floods, coastal floods, including storm surges and tsunamis), on all of the EU territory requires Member States to approach flood risk management in a three stage process whereby :

  1. Member States will by 2011 undertake a preliminary flood risk assessment of their river basins and associated coastal zones, to identify areas where potential significant flood risk exists.
  2. Where real risks of flood damage exist, they must by 2013 develop flood hazard maps and flood risk maps for such areas. These maps will identify areas with a medium likely hood of flooding (at least a 1 in 100 year event) and extreme events or low likelihood events, in which expected water depths should be indicated. In the areas identified as being at risk the number of inhabitants potentially at risk, the economic activity and the environmental damage potential shall be indicated.
  3. Finally, by 2015 flood risk management plans must be drawn up for these zones. These plans are to include measures to reduce the probability of flooding and its potential consequences. They will address all phases of the flood risk management cycle but focus particularly on prevention (i.e. preventing damage caused by floods by avoiding construction of houses and industries in present and future flood-prone areas or by adapting future developments to the risk of flooding), protection (by taking measures to reduce the likelihood of floods and/or the impact of floods in a specific location such as restoring flood plains and wetlands) and preparedness (e.g. providing instructions to the public on what to do in the event of flooding). Due to the nature of flooding, much flexibility on objectives and measures are left to the Member States in view of subsidiarity.

These steps need to be reviewed every 6 years in a cycle coordinated and synchronised with the Water Framework Directive(WFD) implementation cycle. The first milestone will be the development of reporting formats by 2009 and the appointment of competent authorities in spring 2010.

Use of existing flood risk management instruments available before 22.12.2010 fall under specific provisions of the Directive (art 13, FD). Examples of existing flood mapping practices is available in the European Flood Atlas (part of the "Handbook on Flood mapping in Europe") : Coming soon !

A strategy to support implementation

To support the implementation of the Directive a Working Group on Floods has been established under the Common Implementation Strategy. The Floods Working Group workprogramme for 2008-9 is expected to focus on three pillars :

  • Floods Directive Implementation : Development of reporting formats
  • Water Framework Directive : towards joint implementation with the Floods Directive
  • Flood risk management information exchange

The development of reporting formats responds to the requirement of the Directive, and it is envisaged that this reporting will be carried out via WISE (Water Information System for Europe), available at : Examples of information currently reported to WISE in relation to other Directives (WFD, Urban Waste Water, Bathing Water) are available in the WISE viewer

Further information on the role of information exchange, including some results of this information change is available on this site. The themes selected for further information exchange are : sustainable land use practices, climate change, flood forecasting/flash flooding, flood mapping, preliminary flood risk assessment and integrated river basin management/links with the Water Framework Directive. These themes relate to important.

Links to other Community instruments and initiatives

The management of flood risks is a crucial component of climate change adaptation, and the Directive requires that member States take climate change this into account in the preliminary flood risk assessment, depending on their specific needs.

Other pieces of Community legislation are closely linked to the implementation of the Floods Directive, in particular :

  • Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 on the establishment of a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (Water Framework Directive)
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF)
  • Council Decision 2001/792/EC, Euratom of 23 October 2001 establishing a Community mechanism to facilitate reinforced cooperation in civil protection assistance interventions (Civil Protection Mechanism)
  • Commission action in the field of Disaster prevention
  • Council Directive 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996 concerning integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC Directive)
  • Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (EIA Directive
  • Council Directive 96/82/EC of 9 December 1996 on the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances (SEVESO II) as extended by Directive 2003/105/EC
  • Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (The SEA Directive)
  • Aarhus Convention and related Community legislation on public participation and the access to environmental information.

Other relevant policies and initatives are :