Delivery and public participation

Every six years, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) produces a river basin management plan for each river basin district within Northern Ireland. The current plans are due to be reviewed and updated in 2021, and a consultation, to give you an opportunity to feed into their development is now open.

In this, the first of 3 consultations, we would ask you to consider our timetable, consultation process and how we will work with stakeholders to review and update the plans in 2021. Please follow the link below to view the River Basin Planning 3rd Cycle Timeline Consultation.

Planning cycles

The first planning cycle covers the period from December 2009 - December 2015, with the second continuing from December 2015 - December 2021. The second cycle plans were published 22 December 2015. The interactive web map allows the quality of the water bodies to be viewed. 
Note that a 2018 interim classification of water quality has been undertaken, details of which are available by contacting 

Catchment Satakeholder Group Meeting
Catchment Stakeholder Group Meeting
Northern Ireland has a layered approach to public involvement. The NI Water Framework Directive Stakeholder Forum will be invited to join the DAERA WFD Strategic Planning and Resources Group to review progress on an annual basis. River basin planning also involves anyone who is interested in, or may be affected by, the water environment and the way in which it is managed. Catchment Officers continually work with groups of stakeholders across the River Basin Districts. Details on becoming involved with projects within your local area, can be obtained on request by contacting the catchment management officers, as detailed below.
Catchment Officer Areas
Catchment Officer Areas

North Eastern River Basin District

North Western River Basin District

Neagh Bann River Basin District

In 2016, we held a workshop in each district on future partnerships, to bring stakeholders and government departments together. In 2017, we hosted a national conference.

River Basin Planning Process

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) was established into law in Northern Ireland on 22 December 2003 through the Water Environment (WFD) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003. The Regulations were replaced by the Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017. This legislation sets out a timetable of deliverables that will continue to the end of the third river basin plans cycle 2027.

Target date Deliverable
2021 - 2027 Third River Basin Management Plan
2020 Consultation draft third cycle river basin management plans
2019 Publish and consult on river basin districts issues and objectives (significant water management issues - SWMI)
2018 Timetable and work program for the development of third cycle river basin management plans
2018 Delivering the programme of measures in the second cycle plan progress report
2015 - 2021 Second river basin management plan
2014 Consultation draft second river basin management plan
2013 Publish and consult on river basin districts issues and objectives (significant water management issues – SWMI)
2012 Delivering the programme of measures in the first cycle plan progress report
2009 - 2015 First river basin management plan
2008 Consultation draft river basin management plan
2007 Publish and consult on river basin districts issues and objectives (significant water management issues – SWMI)
2006 Monitoring programmes operational
2004 Complete initial characterisation of river basin districts. Establish registers of protected areas
2003 WFD incorporated into member state law, identification river basin districts

In addition to river basin management plans, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) has been carried out in line with the European Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive as well as a Habitat Directive Assessment for each river basin district.

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