It is for the European Commission, in its role as guardian of the Treaties, to oversee the application of European Union law and institute infraction proceedings where it considers such action appropriate.
The standards which apply under the Water Framework Directive are set out in Directions from the Secretary of State to the Environment Agency. These standards are used by the Environment Agency in drawing up objectives for all water bodies in river basin management plans. These plans are then approved by the Secretary of State. All public bodies have a duty to have regard to these plans and the Environment Agency must exercise its functions to achieve the plans’ objectives.