Summary: Following recent adoption of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the European Commission is required to identify, from a list of 32 priority substances (PS), the priority hazardous substances (PHS) that are of particular concern for the aquatic environment. Consideration of the socioeconomic implications is part of the proposed procedure for the identification of PHSs. The objective of this study is to assess the socio-economic costs, on a mainly qualitative basis, of the possible identification of substances as PHSs. It is a short study based mainly upon existing literature. A more comprehensive assessment of the impacts will be carried out at a later stage. Costs have been assessed taking into account the effects of existing legislation and conventions relating to the PS and have been considered in the context of the maximum 20 year time period allowed for cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of PHSs. For the purposes of this study, such cessation has been taken to imply a phase-out of production and use of substances. Consideration has been given to the suitability of substitutes for the PS and the distributional and employment effects of a phase-out. Whilst efforts have been made to ensure that the most relevant information has been obtained, given the short timeframe for the project, its wide scope (32 substances or groups of substances) and its literature-based nature, it is inevitable that there will be cost information which has not been taken into account. Thus, the discussion represents the best information available to the consultants at the time of writing, rather than the best information available per se. It is evident that there are potentially vast implications associated with the phasing-out of certain substances, whilst for others there may be relatively few costs. This is especially true in cases where other legislation or conventions require a phase-out (making the WFD cost neutral). Furthermore, the costs for some substances could be reduced significantly over the 20 year timefram
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