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Precaution and innovation in the context of wastewater regulation: an examination of financial innovation under UWWTD disputes in London and Milan


Grafe, Fritz-Julius; Mieg, Harald A (2021). Precaution and innovation in the context of wastewater regulation: an examination of financial innovation under UWWTD disputes in London and Milan. Sustainability, 13(16):9130.

Abstract

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) under the guidance of the precautionary principle sets out standards to guarantee high quality water services for European citizens. This creates pressure on European cities to update and renew their water infrastructures in accordance with EU Law at great financial cost. Cities within the Union try to bridge this financial gap with a variety of approaches. This paper presents the cases of London and Milan, both of which were subject to legal proceedings for breaching the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. By example of these two cases, this article details how the precautionary principle affects urban water infrastructure provision, and how the regulation of the primary risk of pollution can both trigger innovation and create secondary risks within the highly integrated urban water infrastructure sector. The London case focusses on an individual infrastructure project and shows how its financial framing has compromised the final outcome, while the Milan case presents a longer-view perspective that shows how structural changes in the urban water infrastructure sector have enabled an environment for sustainable financial innovation. The role of transparency and good local governance practices are emphasized for a successful implementation of the precautionary principle requirements in a city’s water sector. Managing this process effectively can result in meaningful social innovation for urban water infrastructure provision.

Abstract

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) under the guidance of the precautionary principle sets out standards to guarantee high quality water services for European citizens. This creates pressure on European cities to update and renew their water infrastructures in accordance with EU Law at great financial cost. Cities within the Union try to bridge this financial gap with a variety of approaches. This paper presents the cases of London and Milan, both of which were subject to legal proceedings for breaching the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. By example of these two cases, this article details how the precautionary principle affects urban water infrastructure provision, and how the regulation of the primary risk of pollution can both trigger innovation and create secondary risks within the highly integrated urban water infrastructure sector. The London case focusses on an individual infrastructure project and shows how its financial framing has compromised the final outcome, while the Milan case presents a longer-view perspective that shows how structural changes in the urban water infrastructure sector have enabled an environment for sustainable financial innovation. The role of transparency and good local governance practices are emphasized for a successful implementation of the precautionary principle requirements in a city’s water sector. Managing this process effectively can result in meaningful social innovation for urban water infrastructure provision.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Geography, Planning and Development
Physical Sciences > Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
Physical Sciences > Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
Physical Sciences > Energy Engineering and Power Technology
Physical Sciences > Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Uncontrolled Keywords:Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law, Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment, Geography, Planning and Development
Language:English
Date:15 August 2021
Deposited On:23 Sep 2021 10:50
Last Modified:24 Sep 2021 20:00
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:2071-1050
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169130
Project Information:
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID824665
  • : Project TitleRECIPES - REconciling sCience, Innovation and Precaution through the Engagement of Stakeholders

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