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