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The Population Will be Safeguarded

The Regional Government of Madeira, since the presentation of the proposal for the revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, has repeatedly worked with the various national and European bodies, namely the European Commission and the European Parliament, to ensure that the Autonomous Region of Madeira has a differentiated treatment, appropriate to its very specific reality.

In this context, it was proposed by the Regional Government, from the beginning of the negotiations, that a derogation should be approved without a time limit with regard to the requirement of secondary treatment.

Having in common the objective of defending the quality of urban wastewater, this claim was based on the existence of scientific studies, produced over the last few years, which attest to the quality of the waters of the Region.

Requiring unnecessary higher levels of treatment would have very serious environmental and financial costs, leading to a sharp increase in investment costs and costs for consumers.

From the outset, the steps taken by the Regional Government of Madeira, without prejudice to the objective pursued by the proposal for a directive, were to safeguard the interests of Madeira and its population, and therefore expresses its satisfaction with the result now obtained, in this phase of negotiation, in the European Parliament.

Last July, the Regional Secretary for Finance, Rogério Gouveia, presented, in the Committee of the Regions, amendments to two draft opinions, claiming the specificities of the outermost regions.

At the 156th Plenary Meeting, the Regional Government had the opportunity to approve the proposed amendments to the Committee’s opinions, namely with regard to “Promoting the potential and synergies of the European Green Deal initiatives for regions and cities,” which aims to draw attention to the structural challenges faced by the outermost regions, due to their vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters.

The second amendment adopted concerns the draft opinion on the “Revision of the UWWTD as part of the debate on “the revision of EU legislation on urban wastewater treatment and ambient air quality.”

The Regional Government has asked the European Commission to establish provisions adapted to the reality of the outermost regions, which take into account their particular context in the treatment of wastewater from urban sources, since these territories need greater flexibility and adequate resources.

Samantha Gannon

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