Methodology to Determine the Effectiveness of Combinations of Measures for the Water Framework Directive
March 2006

Key words: Water Framework Directive; Effectiveness; Combinations of Measures; Methodology


1.    Background to Research

The UK Collaborative Research Programme (CRP) on River Basin Management Planning Economics, has been set up to develop the methodologies needed to undertake the Water Framework Directive (WFD) economic analysis and to provide the guidance on these methodologies in the UK.  The CRP involves fourteen parties and is chaired by Defra1 .

1 Parties to the CRP are: Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Scottish Executive, the Environment Agency, Scottish and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), English Nature, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), Department of Environment Northern Ireland (DOENI), British Ports/UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG), Countryside Landowners and Business Association (CLBA), National Farmers Union (NFU), and Joint Environment Programme (JEP).

The CRP will run from April 2004 to March 2008.  It comprises six sequential projects, with these presented in Table 0-1, focused on the progressive development of the approaches and data required to assess the costs and benefits of Programmes of Measures (PoMs) proposed under the WFD.

Table 0-1: Sequential Programme of Work for  ‘UK Collaborative Research Programme (CRP) on River Management Economics’
  • Project 1: developing a better understanding of how economic analysis can best be used to support the decision making processes;
  • Project 2: determining how to assess costs, economic impacts and effectiveness for each of the distinctly different sectors for which control measures will need to be appraised in River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs);
  • Project 3: scoping and characterising the potentially disproportionately costly cases in RBMPs and the main gaps in information on valuation of environmental benefits so as to draw up an appropriate process for assessing them;
  • Project 4: specifying the environmental benefits of concern in the cases identified in Project 3;
  • Project 5: developing and trialling guidance on benefits assessment for RBMPs; and
  • Project 6: carrying out original studies to provide new valuations of the major environmental benefits of RBMPs.

Project 2 has four components:
Project 2a and 2b build on Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) and Developing a Methodology for Assessing Disproportionate Costs (RPA et al, 2004), which provides an overarching theoretical framework for undertaking cost-effectiveness analysis under the WFD and for assessing disproportionate costs.  

Project 2a was commissioned by SNIFFER as Project WFD54 (Methodology to Determine the Effectiveness of Combinations of Measures for the Water Framework Directive), which is the subject of this report.  In addition the body of this report is included in ‘Development of a Methodology to Determine the Cost-Effectiveness of Measures and Combinations of Measures for the Water Framework Directive (WFD)’ (RPA et al, September 2005), which details the work of both Projects 2a and 2b and how their outputs jointly contribute to the Cost-Effectiveness Methodology.

2.    Objectives and Overview of Project WFD54

The objective of Project WFD54 was to develop a methodology to determine the effectiveness of combinations of measures, as a pre-requisite to consideration of ‘cost effective’ Programmes of Measures (PoMs) for Water Framework Directive (WFD) implementation.
More specifically the methodology needed to:
WFD54 (Project 2a) sits alongside Project 2b, but is focused on the technical aspects of the identification and selection of Programmes of Measures.  The Project 2a methodology has been created in such a way as to allow it to be used in conjunction with the outputs of Project 2b, to provide an appraisal framework for cost-effectiveness analysis.

An overview of the Effectiveness Methodology, within the context of the overall appraisal framework, is set out in Figure 0-1.

Overview of Efectiveness Methodology

Figure 0-1: Overview of Effectiveness Methodology

3.    Key Findings and Recommendations

Pre-Requisites for Application of the Methodology

A first pre-requisite for application of the methodology is the identification of the risks to the water bodies under consideration, as determined from the characterisation.

A second pre-requisite is knowledge of the default targets for the type of water body under consideration expressed in measurable terms. Even once default targets are known, objectives for the water bodies under consideration cannot be confirmed until an initial cost-effectiveness and disproportionate cost analysis has been completed.  Alternative objectives may be set on the basis of considering costs and benefits of measures, although this derogation is not always available, for example in protected areas.

A third critical pre-requisite of the methodology is to confirm the need to undertake cost-effectiveness analysis.  By its very nature, application of the effectiveness methodology demands a rigorous consideration of the problem and of measures to address the problem so as to ensure that comparison of the effectiveness of combinations of measures is robust and auditable.  Therefore, it is desirable to screen out those problems, which do not warrant cost-effectiveness analysis.

If, after allowing time for all existing measures to take effect, characterisation has shown that there is still a problem (a gap to close) then by definition new measures will be required to ensure WFD objectives are achieved, and the assessment of any new measures is potentially subject to CEA.

Problems that will require CEA include:
In some circumstances it may be possible to take a simplified approach, which either doesn’t require all of the steps of the methodology to be employed in strict sequence or allows relaxation of the analysis within individual steps. Determination of the criteria under which it is acceptable to adopt a simplified approach to CEA needs further investigation.

Assessment of Effectiveness

The core of the methodology is a series of steps that set out the assessment process, accompanied by a set of flowcharts.  The aim of the steps is to provide a structured framework for the consideration of measures and combinations of measures, and their effectiveness in addressing specific risks (or known impacts).

The methodology is designed to be used to determine the effectiveness of measures or combinations of measures that address risks identified by the WFD characterisation process:
Whilst the steps of the methodology are designed to be applied in succession, the user is encouraged to adapt use of these steps to suit the particular circumstances of the problem under consideration.
Assessment of Costs

The costs methodology (Project 2b) has been developed to enable an assessment of the compliance costs of measures at either the local or national level, and allows analysis to different degrees of detail.  The assessment of costs considers direct costs of implementing measures, and non-water environment costs and benefits and wider economic effects.

The cost assessment involves developing estimates for individual measures and then aggregating these for a proposed programme of measures.  Flowcharts set out the process to be followed in each step and illustrate the linkages between the effectiveness and costs methodologies.  

Combining the Assessments of Effectiveness and Costs

The final step of the cost-effectiveness methodology is to bring together the results of the effectiveness assessment and the cost assessment to provide an overall indication of cost-effectiveness in a way that will inform decision-making.  

A simple tabular summary is used to summarise the required information on costs, effectiveness, uncertainty and non-quantified attributes.

Pilot Testing

Pilot testing of the combined cost-effectiveness methodology has been undertaken in three catchments.

The objectives of the pilot testing have been to:
The three pilot test areas examined were:
Individual pilot test reports have been completed and are presented as an Appendix to Part 1 of the Project 2b report “Developing Methodologies to Assess Costs and Economic Impacts Even Handedly for the Main Types of Measures” (RPA, 2005).

Copies of this report are available from the Foundation, in electronic format on CDRom at 20.00 + VAT or hard copy at 25.00, less 20% to FWR members.
N.B. The report is available for download from the SNIFFER Website