UK agencies set out river basin management plans

The UK’s environment agencies have all published draft river basin management plans for consultation. They set targets and detail measures that must be followed to achieve the water framework Directive’s target of good ecological status.

The UK environment agencies published draft river basin management plans on 22 December 2008, a key stage of the EU water framework Directive’s implementation.

Twelve plans cover England, Scotland and Wales and three cover Northern Ireland. They analyse water quality problems in each river basin district (RBD) and set targets for achieving good ecological status or, for heavily modified or artificial water bodies, good ecological potential.

The plans also detail measures needed to counter water quality problems and a timetable for action. The measures include:

  • Improvements to sewage works and sewers to reduce overflows and levels of pollutants such as phosphate, ammonia and nitrate.
  • Improved land management practices by farmers to reduce nutrient, soil and pesticide runoff.
  • Better management of surface and road runoff by local authorities and the Highways Agency.
  • Reductions of abstractions to enhance wetlands and maintain river flows.
  • Modifications to lessen the impact of river channel modifications, weirs and dams to improve water and habitat quality and facilitate the migration of salmonid fish and eels.
  • Control of invasive non-native species such as mink, Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and American signal crayfish.

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