Whilst some of the Neanderthals reject everything about EU legislation they calmly ignore the enormous benefits that EU Directives can bring. For example The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) - for integrated river basin management for Europe was finally adopted on 23rd October 2000, establishing a framework for Community action in the field of fresh water policy.
Clean , pollution free fresh water is an fundamental resource. Whilst many EU countries have river systems that can be affected outside their borders, the UK is largely independent - except in Northern Ireland.
This EU site provides a history of the legisltaive development, transposition into local laws, timetables, policies and procedures for river basin management covering Water quantity, quality, pollution and waste etc.,
The Defra webesite covering the WFD is here
and Northern Ireland is covered at this site which is part of the NI Environment Agency (NIEA).
They declare their policy to be
"To maintain or improve quality in surface waters and waters in underground strata as required by national policy, EC Directives and international agreements, and to generally manage river, estuarine, and coastal waters to be at least "Good" under the adopted classification schemes with no downward movement between classes."
Their detailed policy was set out in a document in 2001 POLICY FOR SETTING AND DELIVERING WATER QUALITY TARGETS where they say "Effective management requires targets." ... and "To deliver this duty The Environment and Heritage Department (EHS - now the NIEA) monitors the quality of fresh and marine waters, regulates and monitors polluting discharges, responds to incidents of water pollution, and promotes and delivers pro-active pollution prevention programmes. " Ho.Ho.Ho.
Rivers they say ...
1. Rivers should be Biologically GQA Class (B) [Good] or better based on the modal annual ‘three season’ classifications for 1995-2000 with no downward movement between classes;
2. Rivers should be Chemically GQA Class (B) [Good] or better based on the modal annual classifications for 1995-2000 with no downward movement between classes;
3. Monitored rivers should comply with all appropriate EC Directives including the EC Freshwater Fish Directive (78/659/EEC), EC Surface Water Directive (75/440/EEC), EC Dangerous Substances Directive (76/464/EEC) and the EC Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC).
This document was superseded in 2006 by Aquatic Monitoring Strategy 2006-07 and Water Framework Directive Monitoring Plans Environment & Heritage Service March 2006
Portentously this substantial document is ....
"intended to provide an overarching framework and to outline the general approach that will be adopted to monitoring Northern Ireland’s aquatic environment for the years 2006 to 2007 and beyond, highlighting the drivers for the work, the main one being the obligation to meet the monitoring requirements of the EC Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC) . It covers surface water, groundwater and hydrological monitoring proposals and draws in particular on the UK WFD Technical Advisory Group (UKTAG)6 document’ Guidance on the selection of monitoring sites and building monitoring networks for surface and groundwater".Which is / was fine - until South Antrim SDLP MLA Tommy Burns made a Freedom of Information request of Environment Minister Sammy Wilson (also NI MP) and got a written reply.
The Minister explains that of the 237 rivers in Northern ireland over 200 are officially classified as ’polluted’and many of the waters have recently failed both chemical and biological tests conducted by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).
Water bodies are calssified on an scale of A-F and C - D - E - F are considered to be below standard. For example the Crawfordsburn River at the popular Co Down country park, showed D on the biological test ,C on the chemical test.
Similarly the Connswater River at the Con O’Neill Bridge sample point was graded with an E on the biological test and the River Lagan failed tests at numerous sample points.
In all some 66 rivers also failed to meet the quality criteria outlined under the EU Freshwater Fish Directive with regard to supporting fish life . This includes the Upper and Lower Bann at numerous points, the Erne River in Enniskillen and the Silent Valley Reservoir -half way along the dam wall.
“I suspect the problem is even worse than these figures suggest and this will be revealed in due course when more recent data becomes available,” said Tommy Burns pointing out that the data provided to him not including samples or tests from the Six Mile Water after recent devastating fish kills.
According to Tommy, " The minister himself has identified 356 individual organisations that have been caught repeatedly polluting rivers on no less than 1,610 occasions collectively, so he must see this.”
The Department of Environment said “The water environment, as far as this department is concerned, is in safe hands”.
Sinn Fein’s North Antrim MLA and the party’s environmental spokesperson Daithí McKay has expressed his ‘shock and sadness’ at figures released highlighting the degree of river pollution across the North.
For more press comment on the regions poluted rivers ..
River pollution kills 3,000 fish BBC
Anglers appeal for river pollution to stop on 6 Mile Water
" County Antrim anglers and Friends of the Earth have today accused the government of being “incompetent or incapable” of enforcing the legislation to protect the natural environment.
"The Northern Ireland Water company was fined £100 at Belfast Magistrates’ Court today for causing pollution at Colin Glen River." Government Website
GREEN PARTY CALLS FOR PROSECUTIONS AFTER 30 YEARS OF POLLUTION of River Quoyle Nov 2008 - Sammy Wilson was the winner of the Green Party's Green Wash award - the MLA most likely to damage the environment.
"Wee" Sammy achieved some fame when photographs of him with his friend , Sharon Mary Rivers, were taken on holiday in France and appeared over 7 pages in the Sunday World and the Irish Star, both published in Dublin - notable becasue neither were wearing anything more than a smile at the time.
Which led to his party's leader and Free Presbyterian Moderator the Rev Ian Paisley to publicly defended him.
"What a man does in his private life, whether I agree with it or not, is a matter entirely for himself and, in final accountability, to his maker - as long as it does not militate against standards of public decency or views he promotes in his public life," he said.
UPDATE : Saturday - Bert Waddicor a very successful pigeon flyer was a rigger on Sunderland Flying Boats in WWII. He spent 18 months at Lough Erne keeping a boat ready for immediate departure.
A Sunderland 25 (derived from the old S23 "Empire" class pasenger liners) would receive the Royal Family who had flown there in a smaller flying boat from a resevoir on the outskirts of London to carry them to Canada via Iceland. Still today very much a State secret as the concept of the Royal Family fleeing the UK should Hitler arrive is still an unacceptable truth.
Especially so as King Edward VIIIth the rightful heir would, who had pre-wat contacts with Hitler, would be installed - and the existence of mixed race Lord Patel as his illegitimate (and only) child born 25.1.43 in Bahamas General Hospital (Now Princess margaret Hospital) could have proved very problematic.
Incidentally the Duke of Kent died in Sunderland W4026 in a mysterious crash at the village of Dunbeath on the Caithness coast, on the 25th August 1942 on the way to Iceland.