European River Corridor Improvement Plans
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 river corridors. 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.