Project Details

Title: European River Corridor Improvement Plans
Priority: 2: Environment and risk prevention
Theme: Natural and technological risks (including climate change)

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Jan 2012 - 31st Dec 2014


Total budget: €1,318,863.48
ERDF contribution: €1,046,463.49

Lead partner

London Borough of Lewisham
Town Hall, 1 Catford Road
SE6 4RU, London

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Mr Paul Chapman
      Phone: +44 (0)20 8314 8525
      Fax: +44 (0)20 8314 3086 - this is a shared fax so please inform recipient when sending

Project summary

Background: The management of river corridors in Europe is a story of fragmented responsibilities and multiple agency involvement resulting in contradictory policies and missed opportunities to address the twin concerns of environmental protection and economic growth in one of the most prevalent geographically sensitive landscapes across the EU.


Objectives: River Corridor Improvement Plans (RCIP’s) provide a model for a joint agency, responsible approach to address the complex and interdependent demands often found in concentrated form along river corridors. RCIP’s allow regional agencies with an interest in environmental protection to work in partnership with local authorities with their emphasis on the social and economic growth of their citizens, through a jointly developed co-owned policy document.


Partnership: The ERCIP partnership consists of 4 regional agencies and 5 local authorities from the UK, Germany, Italy, Romania and Greece with an interest in better managing river

corridors. Each partner represents a river corridor dealing with a specific geographical sensitivity including the pressures of development in flood plains, the effects of major riverside industrial sites, coping with the impacts of pollution and managing large scale man-made water storage systems. Each of these situations is further concentrated by the unique demands of being situated in a river corridor.


Main Activities: The ERCIP Project is centred around 6 Partnership Exchange Visits providing a platform for an informed and relevant exchange of experience. Focusing on Site Visits, Thematic Seminars and open Networking Events, each exchange visit will allow for the impact of the joint RCIP approach to be assessed and explored by all the participants in each region.


Expected Outputs and Results: The development of an RCIP for each region based on the following path:

Level 1 - a formal framework for co-operation between the two agencies representing a region.

Level 2 - the development or improvement of a River Corridor Improvement Plan providing a structure and focus for continued joint working.

Level 3 - the development of the RCIP into a Statutory Planning Document (or national equivalent).

Each level builds on the previous by embedding the RCIP within a partners legal framework, with continued development ensured through 5 Regional Implementation Plans.


This in turn will result in the lessons learnt being collated into a European RCIP Good Practice Guide while the development and progress made by the partner regions through the life of the project will be available to all through the ERCIP Website, 6 Exchange Visit Reports and 6 Partnership Newsletters to be disseminated online and through social and e-media. The wider public will also be encouraged to get involved through informal networking events held during each regional exchange.

Project achievements

ERCIP stands for European River Corridor Improvement Plans, the idea that by addressing river management at a micro level, the aims and objectives of national and EU water directives could be met through local ownership, involvement and responsibility. The project set out, to engage a local authority and a regional or national partner with responsibility for river management as joint partners from each country represented.

The delivery of the ERCIP project was built around a simple three stage model of cooperation. The past experience of partners was of a fragmented, top down approach to river management that was often only in evidence after a crisis. By taking a lead, the local ERCIP partners have helped develop the model by testing it in varying situations on different scales of river. The three stage approach (ENGAGE, AGREE, FORMALISE) also provided a clear non-binding framework for partners to assess what steps needed to be taken to move forward.

ENGAGE - The value of this simple approach was best highlighted by our Greek partners (P8&9) where the impact of decisions made at national level regarding the building of a hydro-eletric power plant has led to major changes in the landscape, environment and economy of the surrounding area. The ERCIP model has provided a framework for the 'smallest' partner, the local authority to initiate discussions with the regional and national organisations to explore ways of working more cooperatively in the future.


AGREE - Once dialogue has begun, the next step of the model is to agree principles for working together. Our Romanian Partners brought home the value of this approach through the increased status of both partners in the world of river management. The Institute of Geology (P6) took the lead in agreeing to carry out mutually beneficial surveys and research work in Harsova (P7), this led to the involvement of other regional actors, principally Constanta County who, building on the trust

shown in Harsova by the IGR, began to see them as a key delivery partner for their objectives. In turn this raised profile has led to both partners being invited to join national and transnational river Danube management groups and a significant increase in external funding directed at Harsova for water quality and river management objectives.


FORMALISE - The idea of formalising the previous two stages was built on the experience that goodwill and cooperative working are often reliant on individual relationships and there needed to be something more concrete in order to retain this. The ERCIP model also complimented existing river management structures at local, regional and national level.

Local - In the UK, the ERCIP LP has developed a Supplementary Planning Document building the protection of the river corridor within its borders into the local legislative framework. This in turn helps deliver the requirements of the Catchment and Basin based approaches while preserving

a local focus and engagement.

Regional - In Germany (P2&3) have jointly developed the Landscape Plan for the Rhine-Erft-Kreis region which has not only resulted in a legally amended and improved Regional Planning Document, but has also taught both organisations more about how each other work.

National - In Italy (P4&5) have seen an impact at all three levels but the most striking is nationally where, through participation in the existing National River Contract Programme, their approaches have been recognised and replicated, they have been asked to help other authorities in the development of their own Corridor Improvement Plans and River Contracts.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
London Borough of Lewisham, London UNITED KINGDOM Inner London +44 (0)20 8314 8525
Erft River Association, Bergheim GERMANY Köln +49 2271 88 1291
Rhine-Erft-Kreis District Administration, Bergheim GERMANY Köln +49 2271 83-4222
Municipality of Teramo, Teramo ITALY Abruzzo 390861324463
Province of Teramo, Teramo ITALY Abruzzo 00390861331407 - 00390861331238
Geological Institute of Romania, Bucharest ROMANIA Bucuresti - Ilfov +4(0)123060400
Town of Harsova, Harsova ROMANIA Sud-Est +40 0241870300
Region of Western Macedonia, Kozani GREECE Dytiki Makedonia +30 2461 053989
Municipality of Servia - Velvento, Servia GREECE Dytiki Makedonia 0030 2464350104


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