River basin planning process overview


1. Introduction

This document sets out the decision making which has informed the draft update to the river basin management plans that are wholly, or partly, in England. It summarises the processes behind the update, linking to more information where appropriate.

This document also contains a description of the summary programmes of measures, and links to the ‘River basin planning programmes of measures: mechanisms summary’ document which details the mechanisms available to deliver these measures that underpin the achievement of the environmental objectives in river basin management plans in England.

2. River basin management plans

2.1. River basin management plans legislation (Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) Regulations 2017)

The Water Framework Directive seeks to establish an integrated approach to the protection and sustainable use of the water environment. This requires a holistic approach to managing waters, looking at the wider ecosystem and taking into account the movement of water through the hydrological cycle.

The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2017 transpose, for England and Wales, the Water Framework Directive as well as aspects of the Groundwater Directive and Environmental Quality Standards Directive.

The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2017 (referred to as WFD Regulations in this document) provides a framework for managing the water environment in England.

The European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 carries over the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, into domestic law as retained EU law.

The WFD Regulations require the preparation and publication of river basin management plans; the setting of environmental objectives for groundwater and surface waters (including estuaries and coastal waters) and the devising and implementing of programmes of measures to meet those objectives.

Under the WFD Regulations, a river basin management plan must be developed for each river basin district and reviewed and updated every six years. These plans were first published in December 2009, and last updated in February 2016.

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~sGov.uk, 22 October 2021