Water is a valuable resource that we all rely on. Given its importance, it is critical that we manage it properly to ensure that water can continue to meet the needs of society, the economy and wildlife over the long-term, and help to reduce the costs associated with water pollution and drought.
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) has a holistic approach to the management of water quality, requiring the protection and improvement of all aspects of the water environment including rivers, lakes, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwater.
The Directive places a responsibility on Member States to try and ensure that all inland and coastal waters reach at least ‘Good’ status by 2027.
River Basin Management Planning is crucial to putting the requirements of the Water Framework Directive into action. The 1st cycle River Basin Management Plans were published in December 2009. 'Good' or 'High' status water bodies were identified and objectives were set for improvement of substandard water bodies, or prevention of deterioration. This established a baseline against which the effectiveness of future River Basin Management measures could be assessed and monitored.
As required by WFD, the Plans are to be reviewed and updated every 6 years. The 2nd cycle Plans were reviewed in 2015 and updated to reflect progress made, and to refine long term objectives.
The 3rd cycle Plans are due to be reviewed and updated in 2021, and the purpose of this consultation is to give you an opportunity to feed into their development. 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.