The consultation is part of the river basin management plan process, which is a requirement of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The current river basin management plans were published in February 2016 and must be updated every six years.
Published this morning, the consultation looks at “the challenges that limit the benefits society obtains from the water environment” and the “best way to address these issues”, focusing on the following areas:
- Climate and biodiversity crisis
- Changes to water levels and flows
- Chemicals in the water environment
- Invasive non-native species
- Physical modifications
- Plastics pollution
- Pollution from abandoned mines
- Pollution from agriculture and rural areas
- Pollution from towns, cities and transport
- Pollution from water industry wastewater
- Catchment partnership working
The EA says the country “now take[s] more from our rivers and groundwater than we or rainfall put back” and that across England “we over-abstract from around 20% of rivers and 26% of groundwater bodies”, damaging rivers, springs, aquifers, lakes and wetlands.
EU Directive 2000/60/EC: Establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy [Water Framework Directive]
10 Nov 2014
It notes that 10% of freshwater and wetland species are threatened with extinction and two-thirds are in decline, and that “70% of surface waters in England are in danger of deteriorating as a result of invasive species”.
Chemical pressures on water bodies include cypermethrin, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and related substances, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and mercury, it says.
The consultation closes on 24 April. The agency says it will publish and consult on draft new river basin plans in 2020.
The consultation can be viewed here.