Exemptions to the environmental objectives

In certain situations, the Water Framework Directive (WFD) allows the Member States to report exemptions to achieving “good status” in water bodies. Applying this exemption results in lower environmental target standards, namely the good ecological potential instead of the good ecological status.

The dashboards below provide an overview of different results related to exemptions to the environmental objectives. Further dashboards and items are available in the WISE Freshwater resource catalogue.

Caution is advised when comparing Member States and when comparing the first and second RBMPs, as the results are affected by the methods Member States have used to collect data and often cannot be compared directly.


Further information is provided in chapters 2 and 3 of the EEA report European waters – assessment of status and pressures 2018, and sections 2.4 Ecological status and exemptions and 2.5 Chemical status of surface waters, exemtions and Mixing Zones of the WFD 2016 reporting guidance.

Related Resources


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