What are drivers?

The term driver describes how social, economic and political systems trigger environmental pressures, both directly and indirectly.  Driver categories help us understand the ways in which human activities can impact the natural world.

Drivers form a key element of the driver-pressure-state-impact-response (DPSIR) framework used to design ecosystem-based assessments. The DPSIR is based on cause and effect relationships. Drivers induce environmental pressures, which can lead to a change in the state (or health) of an environment, which can in turn trigger societal responses.  As a result, drivers may then be mitigated as a result of political and social debate and scientific evidence.

The drivers according to the WFD Reporting Guidance 2016 (Annex 1C) (EC 2015) are listed below. The pressures, geographical distributions and potential mitigation options for each driver are outlined below.



Kristensen, P. (2004). The DPSIR Framework  (Download report, 0.5mb)

EC (2015). WFD Reporting Guidance 2016 (Annex 1C) (Download report, 5mb)