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Policing activities





The European directives, followed by the Grenelle environmental laws in France, set ambitious goals in terms of restoring and maintaining the quality of water and aquatic environments that must be met very rapidly. Since the Lisbon treaty, the risks of litigation against Member States have risen and legal procedures have been accelerated. France has in the past and again recently been the target of pre-litigation and litigation procedures concerning the Urban wastewater, Untreated water and Nitrate directives.

Effective enforcement of existing regulations is an essential factor in achieving environmental goals. The European commission stressed this obligation in the Blueprint to safeguard Europe’s water resources, which highlights the need to reinforce inspection and monitoring efforts.

In France, Onema and the other State services monitor aquatic environments and inspect how they are used. This activity is part of a joint inspection strategy set up in each French department by the MISE (Inter-agency water group) under the authority of the Prefect.

In order to regularly monitor the action taken by State prosecutors when inspections reveal offences, Onema and the State services have progressively reinforced their contacts with the prosecutors’ offices on the basis of signed agreements.