The Water Framework Directive

Otter Margaret HollandOtter Margaret Holland

We have been working with our partners to ensure that the Derbyshire Derwent catchment meets the requirements of the Water Framework Directive.

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is European Union legislation which requires all member states to improve the ecological status of their water bodies by 2027. It set measurable standards for water quality and conservation. The WFD regulations were enacted in UK law by the Water Act 2003.

 In England and Wales, the Environment Agency is the ‘competent authority’ implementing the obligations of the WFD. This means it takes responsibility for analysis and monitoring of water bodies. It is also responsible for the enforcement of regulation, and for prosecution in the case of non-compliance.

The WFD is an important change in the way we manage our most precious resource. It encourages a holistic approach to water management, by considering not just the watercourses, but the entire landscape of the river basin. This is important, because almost everything that happens on the land has an effect on the water. Products of transport, agriculture, urban and industrial activity all run into the river.

River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) work on making the whole river environment healthier, which doesn’t just improve the water quality, it also makes the whole area better able to cope with changes in the future. RBMPs also include regular monitoring and review processes, an essential part of all good management plans. 

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