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For the 2nd cycle of the WFD which runs from 2015-2021, new governance arrangements are being put in place, involving three tiers.
Figure 1: The three tier governance structure for WFD implementation during the 2nd Cycle
Tier 1 - led by DECLG: The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has clear responsibility for policy, legislation and ensuring the provision of adequate resources for implementing the Directive. It is at this level also that the draft river basin management plan(s) and programme(s) of measures will be refined and finalised in consultation with key Departments and state agencies before presentation to the Minister for approval. A Water Policy Advisory Committee has been established to assist the Minister and its functions and membership are set out in the new Regulations.
Tier 2 - led by the EPA: Significant new responsibilities have been assigned to the EPA at Tier 2, including the crucial role of drafting environmental objectives, undertaking catchment characterisation, preparing template river basin management plan(s) and compiling common programme of measures for further development and input by local authorities at Tier 3 and finalisation and approval by the Minister. Tier 3 - led by the lead Coordinating Authorithy: The local authorities will lead implementation and enforcement of measures on the ground and have key responsibility for ensuring compliance with the Directive on public participation including consultation on draft river basin management plan(s) that are developed from the template plans prepared by the EPA. The Department is currently engaging with the County and City Management Association on the necessary structures and resources at this Tier. It is envisaged that a number of regional WFD offices will coordinate Tier 3 activities and the Department will publish details in this regard when they are finalised.
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