The Directive 2007/60/EC of 23 October 2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the assessment and management flood risks has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJ L288, p.27). This means that the Floods Directive (as it is known for short) will come into force on 26 November 2007. The official publication of the text of the Floods Directive is the final step in the process of developing the Directive, which started with the Commissionís initial proposal of January 2006 as part of the action programme on floods
The Directive adopted by Council and Parliament will require that Member States take a long-term planning approach to reducing flood risks in three stages:
- Member States will by 2011 undertake a preliminary flood risk assessment of their river basins and associated coastal zones.
- Where real risks of flood damage exist, they must by 2013 develop flood hazard maps and flood risk maps.
- Finally, by 2015 flood risk management plans must be drawn up for these zones. These plans are to include measures to reduce the probability of flooding and its potential consequences.
In the case of international river basins, Member States must coordinate so that problems are not passed on from one area to another. More information on the key elements of the Directive
All stakeholders must be given the opportunity to participate actively in the development and updating of the flood risk management plans. Risk assessments, maps and plans must furthermore be made available to the public.
These three steps are to be repeated in a six-year cycle to ensure that long-term developments are taken into account.
The Directive creates an EU framework for flood risk management that builds on and is closely coordinated and synchronised with the 2000 Water Framework Directive, the cornerstone of EU water protection policy.