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Assessing the Impact of INSPIRE on Related EU Marine Directives

Roger Longhorn

 

Very much is expected of the EU’s INSPIRE Directive (to create a

pan-European Spatial Data Infrastructure focused on environmental

data) and its various implementing Regulations and Decisions, to

provide the underpinning data support for many other EU Directives,

regarding data harmonization and services interoperability. In the

marine community, INSPIRE has been proposed as the supporting spatial

data infrastructure for the Water Framework Directive, the Marine

Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Flood Risk Assessment

Directive, and similar environmentally oriented Directives in many

different areas (air quality, noise, health, etc.). INSPIRE harmonized

data is also expected to fully support the principles – and data

requirements – of WISE-Marine (the Water Information System for

Europe) and SEIS (the Shared Environmental Information System).

 

Goals of these initiatives are to reduce the level of paper-based

reporting required of EU Member States (replaced by online reporting

using harmonized datasets) and to enhance the automated data sharing

capabilities between EU institutions, such as different European

Commission Directorates-General (DG Environment, DG Maritime Affairs,

etc.) and the European Environment Agency (EEA) in its mandated role

as the official monitoring body for the state of the environment in

Europe, including in the marine domain.

 

The proposed reliance on INSPIRE to support the environmental

monitoring and reporting requirements set out in these Directives

raises two challenges. Firstly, much of the environmental geospatial

information required by the other Directives is not required to be

harmonized under the INSPIRE Directive until 2015, 2017 or 2019, long

after that information is needed for both initial and later reporting

for some of the Directives – or in some cases, at all. Secondly, the

data that is required to be harmonized according to INSPIRE and its

Regulations is not always as comprehensive as that required by the

environmental Directives themselves.