European River Corridor Improvement Plans
Date du début: 31 déc. 2011,
Date de fin: 30 déc. 2014
Background: The management of river corridors in Europe is a story of fragmented responsibilities and multiple agency involvement resulting in contradictory policies and missed opportunities to address the twin concerns of environmental protection and economic growth in one of the most prevalent geographically sensitive landscapes across the EU.Objectives: River Corridor Improvement Plans (RCIP’s) provide a model for a joint agency, responsible approach to address the complex and interdependent demands often found in concentrated form along river corridors. RCIP’s allow regional agencies with an interest in environmental protection to work in partnership with local authorities with their emphasis on the social and economic growth of their citizens, through a jointly developed co-owned policy document.Partnership: The ERCIP partnership consists of 4 regional agencies and 5 local authorities from the UK, Germany, Italy, Romania and Greece with an interest in better managing rivercorridors. Each partner represents a river corridor dealing with a specific geographical sensitivity including the pressures of development in flood plains, the effects of major riverside industrial sites, coping with the impacts of pollution and managing large scale man-made water storage systems. Each of these situations is further concentrated by the unique demands of being situated in a river corridor.Main Activities: The ERCIP Project is centred around 6 Partnership Exchange Visits providing a platform for an informed and relevant exchange of experience. Focusing on Site Visits, Thematic Seminars and open Networking Events, each exchange visit will allow for the impact of the joint RCIP approach to be assessed and explored by all the participants in each region.Expected Outputs and Results: The development of an RCIP for each region based on the following path:Level 1 - a formal framework for co-operation between the two agencies representing a region.Level 2 - the development or improvement of a River Corridor Improvement Plan providing a structure and focus for continued joint working.Level 3 - the development of the RCIP into a Statutory Planning Document (or national equivalent).Each level builds on the previous by embedding the RCIP within a partners legal framework, with continued development ensured through 5 Regional Implementation Plans.This in turn will result in the lessons learnt being collated into a European RCIP Good Practice Guide while the development and progress made by the partner regions through the life of the project will be available to all through the ERCIP Website, 6 Exchange Visit Reports and 6 Partnership Newsletters to be disseminated online and through social and e-media. The wider public will also be encouraged to get involved through informal networking events held during each regional exchange. Achievements: The European River Corridor Improvement Plans (ERCIP) project has completed an interesting and successful first year. The main aim of the project is to embed a process of joint working for the protection and development of river corridors between local authorities and responsible national or regional agencies with a strategic remit. The relevance of this approach was highlighted during the Partnership Exchange Visit to Teramo in October 2012 when, in addition to the project partners from the Province and the Municipality of Teramo, 13 other local authorities signed up to a River Contract during a formal ceremony. A presentation by the Italian representative of the National River Contracts Group then showed how this commitment to joint working at a micro scale compliments the national and European targets for water quality and flood management through the creation of localised pockets of interest, and in some cases protest, in support of better river management. The River Contract is being put forward as one of the Good Practice examples identified by the ERCIP project and in November 2012 the Province of Teramo was presented with an award from the Italian National River Contract Conference recognising "the strong and innovative experiment of a River Contract process into a complex and administratively fragmented territorial situation of city between two rivers". The Romanian partners from the National Institute of Geology and the Municipality of Harsova have shown interest in replicating the Italian Contract model on the relevant area of the Danube to promote the ERCIP ideas at a local level. They are also incorporating their own priorities of protecting sites of archaeological and historic importance into their work and have presented ERCIP at the National Zoological Congress. They have spent the first year of the project putting the building blocks in place to enable the development of a strong local RCIP and the potential of rolling this out nationally. In the UK, Lewisham has begun a series of meetings with neighbouring London boroughs in partnership with the Environment Agency to look at both catchment and local level management plans for the river Ravensbourne. The discussion also includes local river clean up volunteers and pressure groups ensuring public engagement from the beginning of the process of developing an RCIP into local planning guidance. In Germany the Erftverband and the County of Rhine-Erft-Kreis have been working together to incorporate the lessons learned so far regarding to the project area “Erftaue Gymnich”, and the environmental impact study of that project into the draft of the landscape “Erfttal Süd” of the Rhine-Erft-Kreis. The inclusion of the ERCIP project contents in the landscape plan ensures that the measures in the project become legally binding after landscape plan has been adopted. This procedure is a pilot project with the objective of testing, development and shaping regional planning strategies. They have also recognised a need to raise public awareness and address participation on the value of river corridor protection and development, so plans are currently being developed for a Water Experience Centre in the region. The Greek partners from Western Macedonia and Servia Velvento have met together to agree the project scope and study area. They have discussed a joint response to highlighting Italian Good Practice examples including how the ideas could be implemented in the local situation. They have also put local management and staff in place to ensure the delivery of the ERCIP aims and are beginning to identify key stakeholders who will need to be engaged to ensure the projects local success. Individuals can keep in touch with the progress of the ERCIP project by signing up for updates via the project website: www.ercip.eu
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