Table of Contents

Environmental Valuation in Developed Countries

Environmental Valuation in Developed Countries

Case Studies

Edited by David Pearce

This is the second of two volumes of case studies that illustrate how environmental economists place values on environmental assets and on the flows of goods and services generated by those assets. This important book assembles studies that discuss broad areas of application of economic valuation – from amenity and pollution through to water and health risks, from forestry to green urban space. In this, his last book, the late David Pearce brought together leading European experts, contributors to some two dozen case studies exploring the frontiers of economic valuation of natural resources and environmental amenity in the developed world.

Chapter 16: Is it Worth Revising the European Bathing Water Directive? A Choice Experiment

Susana Mourato, Allan Provins, Ece Özdemiroglu and Jodi Newcombe

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, valuation, environment, environmental economics, valuation


Susana Mourato, Allan Provins, Ece Özdemiroğlu, Stavros Georgiou and Jodi Newcombe INTRODUCTION In December 2000, the European Commission released a Communication (COM(2000)860) proposing a number of changes to the Bathing Water Directive 76/160/EEC.1 The changes were initiated by a combination of improved scientific knowledge, the need for more active quality management of bathing waters and a desire for improved public information. The revised Bathing Water Directive is expected to tighten microbiological standards, harmonize beach management regimes across the European Union, require that more information on water quality be made public, and widen the scope of designated bathing waters to include waters used by other water contact sports such as surfing, windsurfing and kayaking. The costs of achieving the Commission’s expected minimum bathing water quality standards are estimated at around £2.5–£3.9 billion, over 25 years, for England and Wales (DEFRA, 2002). Most of these costs are attributed to reducing agricultural diffuse microbiological pollution of bathing waters, generating costs directly to farmers or in terms of agricultural subsidies. There are also some costs to the water industry from further work on the sewerage infrastructure. In light of these significant costs, the relevant policy question is: do potential benefits justify the costs arising from the revised Directive? Many of the benefits that the public currently enjoy at beaches, and which may be augmented through implementation of a revised Directive, are non-market in nature. Moreover, the impact of these improvements on individuals’ enjoyment of...

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