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Strategies

Strategies relevant to Forests and Water.

Delivery mechanisms

The Water Framework Directive and River Basin Management Plans - The European Union Water Framework Directive, which came into force on 22 December 2000, establishes a new, integrated approach to the protection, improvement and sustainable use of Europe’s rivers, lakes, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwater. It is transposed into UK legislation by Regulations in each country of the UK.

The Directive introduced two key changes to the way the water environment must be managed. The first relates to the types of environmental objectives that must be delivered. Previous European water legislation set objectives to protect particular uses of the water environment from the effects of pollution and to protect the water environment itself from especially dangerous chemical substances. These types of objectives are taken forward in the Directive’s provisions for Protected areas and Priority Substances, respectively. However, the Directive also introduced new, broader ecological objectives, designed to protect and, where necessary, restore the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems themselves, and thereby safeguard the sustainable use of water resources.

The second key change is the introduction of a river basin management planning system. This is the principal mechanism for ensuring the integrated management of groundwater, rivers, canals, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries and other brackish waters, coastal waters and the water needs of terrestrial ecosystems that depend on groundwater, such as wetlands. The planning system and process provides the decision-making framework for the setting of environmental objectives and the opportunity for public involvement. The costs and benefits can be assessed and a range of measures developed to deliver the environmental objectives. River Basin Management Plans are approved by the relevant environment minister(s).

River Basin Management Plans are available from the following bodies:

England - Environment Agency - www.gov.uk
Scotland - Scottish Environmental Protection Agency - www.sepa.org.uk
Wales - Natural Resources Wales - www.naturalresourceswales.gov.uk
Northern Ireland - Department Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Northern Ireland - www.daera-ni.gov.uk

Last updated: 1st March 2017