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model is in general characterised by the use of special-purpose bodies for the delivery of public goods, and this model was successfully applied to water pollution control.



A European Environment Agency was established only recently, and consequently the construction of comparable time-series on the emissions and costs of water pollution control programmes has been tedious. Despite comprehensive use of national environmental data and the assistance of national census bureaus, it has been possible to establish synchronous emission data on industrial discharges only from 1977-1987 (see Figure 7). Even though this figure excludes the early 1970s, when the Dutch programme was most effective, it is evident that the Netherlands has been the most successful among the four countries in reducing the load of oxygen-binding substances discharged by industry into surface waters. France is a surprising number two, while Germany began to decrease discharges during the 1980s. In Denmark, gross industrial discharges remain at the same level as in 1970.

(Figures 7 and 8 here)

When using national data to estimate pollution from the individual industrial branches, it is evident that Denmark still has the most polluting industries (see Figure 8).6 The reason is that the Danish strategy was to accept public responsibility for pollution control, and to treat industrial pollution at public sewage plants. For this reason, investments in, and the capacity of, sewage treatment are substantially higher in Denmark, measured per capita, than in the other three countries (see figure 9).

One would perhaps expect that Danish industry, which was not encumbered with effluent charges, was consequently relieved of costs compared to industries in the other three countries. Figure 10 shows the share of industrial investments for water pollution control in relation to total industrial investments. Unfortunately, figures are not available for the whole period, since the Danish census bureau ceased to count industrial investments for pollution control after 1982. Until 1977, however, Danish industry had slightly higher investments than French and Dutch industry, while Dutch industry from 1977-83 invested slightly more than the other three. The relatively high Danish investments are explained by the fact that Danish industries had to support the financing of public sewage plants in terms of connection fees, and due to the large capacities constructed, these connection fees were substantial. In the other countries, and especially in the Netherlands and France, relatively more pollution was rectified at the source, keeping total costs at a lower level. The lenient treatment of Danish industries did not, as one could have expected, relieve them of costs.

(Figures 9 and 10 here)

There were costs for the public sector as well. In Figure 11, deflated public investments for the construction of sewage plants (excluding sewer networks) are shown for three countries (for Germany, investment figures are available only for plants and sewerage networks and are not included here). Investments are moderate in France, reflecting the modest extension of public sewage plants. The Danish investments are excessive when one considers the actual extension of services that took place in this period. From 1976-87, the share of the population connected to sewage plants increased from 75 to 95 per cent, while in the Netherlands it increased from 35 to nearly 90 per cent. During this period, Denmark invested


Comparable data at the branch level are not available for Germany.


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