Tag Archives: Mitigation

Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Civil protection

Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 12 July 2004 “Flood risk management – flood prevention, protection and mitigation” [COM(2004) 472 final – Official Journal C 49, 28 February 2006].

Summary

The situation with regard to flooding

Between 1998 and 2002, Europe suffered over 100 major floods, including the catastrophic floods along the Danube and Elbe rivers in 2002. These floods had a disastrous impact on the people affected, in terms of their health (some 700 fatalities since 1998), their social situation (displacement of about half a million people) and their economic situation (at least EUR 25 billion in insured economic losses). These floods also had severe environmental consequences (risks of contamination when waste water treatment plants are affected or chemicals are involved, destruction of biodiversity, etc.).

The Commission indicates that river and coastal floods vary considerably in size and duration and that the root causes of floods (rainfall, storms or major variations in sea level) are natural phenomena and essentially uncontrollable. However, it also points out that the damage resulting from floods is very much influenced by human actions (clearing of forests, straightening of rivers, and extensive building in high-risk areas, etc.).

Lastly, the Commission considers that the frequency of flooding will increase (as a result of climate change and the growing increase in the number of people and economic assets in flood risk zones), calling for concerted action at EU level.

Action undertaken and in progress

The EU already has a number of instruments for flood prevention and management:

  • in the research area, with the 5th and 6th research framework programmes;
  • in the regional policy area, in particular with the Structural Funds, e.g. the INTERREG initiative and the Cohesion Fund;
  • with the EU solidarity fund, which grants rapid financial assistance;
  • in the field of the common agricultural policy, the reform of which focuses, in particular, on rural development;
  • in the environmental field, the Water Framework Directive will help to mitigate the effects of floods, even if this is not one of its main objectives, and the establishment of the monitoring and information centre (MIC) will serve to improve the preparedness of the national protection authorities.

For their part, several Member States have drawn up flood protection plans and strategies and flood risk maps. Their level of involvement and the type of initiatives they take depend however on the type of flood risk (river, coastal, etc.) to which the country is exposed and the degree of risk.

In addition, international cooperation is being established for river basins such as the Rhine, Oder, Meuse, Danube, Saar, Moselle and Elbe: the countries bordering these rivers have established bodies to ensure a coordinated approach to flood risk management and cross-border protection plans.

Towards a European action programme

The Commission proposes that the Member States should cooperate with it to draw up and implement a coordinated action programme for flood prevention, protection and mitigation.

This action plan would include in particular:

  • improving cooperation and coordination between Member States through the development and implementation of flood risk management plans for each adversely affected river basin and coastal zone;
  • development and implementation of flood risk maps by the Member States;
  • improving information exchange, sharing of experiences, and the coordinated development and promotion of best practices; these measures would in particular fall within the area of responsibility of the Commission;
  • developing stronger linkages between the research community and the authorities responsible for flood management;
  • improving coordination between the relevant Community policies;
  • increasing awareness of flood risks through wider stakeholder participation and more effective communication.

Lastly, in an annex, the communication sets out guidelines concerning the essential features of the flood risk management plans and flood risk maps to be drawn up by the Member States.

Related Acts

Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and[Official Journal L 288, 6.11.2007].
The objective of this Directive is to reduce and manage flood-related risks to human health, the environment and property, in particular along rivers and in coastal areas. It provides in particular for the evaluation of flood risk in river basins by 2011 and for flood mapping in all areas with a significant flood risk by 2013. It also provides for coordination within shared river basins, and for producing flood risk management plans through a broad participatory and cooperation process between Member States by 2015.

Communication from the Commission of 28 August 2002 – The European Community response to the flooding in Austria, Germany and several applicant countries – A solidarity-based initiative [COM(2002) 481 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Flood management and evaluation

Flood management and evaluation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Flood management and evaluation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Civil protection

Flood management and evaluation

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks.

Summary

The Directive aims to establish a common framework for assessing and reducing the risk that floods within the European Union pose to human health, the environment, property and economic activity.

The Directive covers all types of floods, both along rivers and in coastal areas. There are also other risks, such as urban floods and sewer floods, which must also be taken into account.

The proposed prevention and management measures are organised by river basin districts (which may cover several river basins), as established by the Water Framework Directive. The measures include the preliminary assessment of risks and the establishment of maps of areas at risk and flood management plans.

Preliminary assessment

Member States must carry out a preliminary assessment of risks for each river basin district or part of a district located in their territory by 22 December 2011 at the latest. This includes gathering information on the boundaries of river basins in the district concerned, floods that have occurred in the past, the likelihood of future floods and the estimated consequences.

On the basis of the assessment, Member States must categorise river basins according to whether or not they have a significant potential flood risk. This assessment and the resulting categories assigned to river basins must be published and reviewed by 22 December 2018 and every six years thereafter.

Flood risk maps

Member States must draw up maps identifying all areas posing a risk of flooding and indicating the probability (high, medium or low) of flooding for each of those areas and the potential damage for local populations, property and the environment.

These maps must be drawn up and published by 22 December 2013 at the latest. They must be reviewed every six years.

Flood risk management plans

Member States must prepare and implement flood risk management plans for each river basin district. Where the area concerned extends into several countries, the Member States must cooperate in preparing, as far as is possible, a single management plan.

In preparing a management plan, appropriate levels of protection must be established for each river basin, sub-basin and stretch of coastline and measures must be drawn up to achieve those levels of protection.

Management measures must focus on reducing the probability of flooding and the potential consequences of flooding. They must cover prevention, protection and preparedness and must take account of relevant aspects, such as water management, soil management, spatial planning, land use and nature conservation. These measures must not increase flood risks in neighbouring countries unless these measures have been coordinated and a solution has been found among the Member States concerned.

Each management plan must contain certain components, including the level of protection, the measures planned, flood risk maps, and, in subsequent management plans, an assessment of the progress made since the last management plan was implemented.

Flood risk maps and management plans must be coordinated with the Water Framework Directive, particularly as regards the characterisation of river basins, management plans for river basins and public consultation and information procedures.

All the parties concerned must be allowed to participate in an appropriate manner in preparing management plans. These plans must be completed and published by 22 December 2015. They must be reviewed every six years.

Background

Between 1998 and 2004, Europe suffered over 100 major floods, causing some 700 fatalities, the displacement of about half a million people and insured economic losses totalling at least 25 billion.

Floods are natural phenomena which cannot be prevented. However, human activity is contributing to increasing their likelihood and their impact. The risk of flooding and the scale of damage will increase in the future as a result of climate change, inappropriate river management, construction in flood risk areas and the increase in people and property in these areas.

Considering that most of the river basins in Europe are shared, action is more effective at Community level, since this allows better risk assessment and the coordination of measures taken by the Member States.

Before drawing up the proposal, the Commission consulted widely with interested parties and took advice from a wide range of experts, from specialists in hydrology and geology to local and regional authorities and the insurance industry.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2007/60/EC 26.11.2007 25.11.2009 OJ L 288 of 6.11.2007

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 12 July 2004 “Flood risk management – flood prevention, protection and mitigation” [

COM(2004) 472 final

– Not published in the Official Journal].
Given the risk to human life, property and the environment, the Commission has analysed the measures already adopted and proposed an action programme to prevent floods, protect against them and mitigate their effects.