Collection

River basin management plans: 2015

River basin management plans (RBMPs) set out how organisations, stakeholders and communities will work together to improve the water environment.

Use RBMPs if you need:

  • information on the plan for the protection and improvement of the water environment
  • to know how future plans may affect an industry sector and its obligations
  • to ensure a development proposal considers the requirements of the RBMP
  • to apply for an environmental permit
  • to contribute to the delivery of the plan or maximise potential funding for a project

Current RBMPs

These are the current river basin district (RBD) RBMPs. They are an update to the first plans published in 2009.

See the 2009 river basin management plans.

A RBD covers an entire river system, including river, lake, groundwater, estuarine and coastal water bodies. We design the RBD RBMPs to protect and improve the quality of our water environment. Good quality water is essential for wildlife, agriculture and businesses to thrive. It boosts regeneration (both structural and economic), recreation and tourism.

Learn about the consultation and engagement methods we used for the review and the update to the RBMPs in the record of consultation and engagement.

The RBMPs support the government’s framework for the 25 year environment plan and will allow local communities to find more cost-effective ways to take action to further improve our water environment.

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has approved the RBMPs. They were prepared in line with ministerial guidance and the legal requirements that applied at the time.

Update to the RBMPs

The Environment Agency must review and update RBMPs every 6 years.

Their review and update of the current RBMPs is underway. The consultation of the draft RBMPs is open for responses. It runs from 22 October 2021 to 22 April 2022.

Previous consultations

The Challenges and Choices consultation (the second of 3) ran between 24 October 2019 and 24 September 2020. You can:

The Working Together consultation (the first of 3) ran between 22 June and 22 December 2018. You can:

Find more information on the consultations on the Environment Agency’s river basin planning consultation website.

Strategic environmental assessment

The Environment Agency has concluded that the requirement for a strategic environmental assessment for the current review of the river basin management plans can be screened out. This is under the justification of minor modifications to the existing plans. You can read more in the screening report River basin management plans: use of strategic environmental assessment screening. This screening decision will be reviewed a part of the ‘habitats regulations assessment’.

Habitats regulation assessment

A habitats regulation assessment of each updated river basin management plan will be carried out to consider if the updated plan is likely to have a significant effect on any European site protected areas. The assessment will be undertaken by the Environment Agency in consultation with Natural England. They will publish the results with the updated plans.

Flood risk management plans (FRMPs) set out how organisations, stakeholders and communities will work together to manage flood risk.

RBMPs and FRMPs provide an integrated approach to catchment planning for water. Working together to achieve the objectives and measures in the plans will bring benefits to human health and wellbeing.

A consultation on the draft flood risk management plans 2021 to 2027 is running for 3 months from 22 October 2021, to coordinate with the 6 month consultation on draft river basin management plans.

There are strong links between RBMPs and the UK’s marine strategy which implements the Marine Strategy Regulations 2010. Measures in the RBMPs will contribute to achieving good environmental status in the UK seas.

Shoreline management plans (SMPs) provide a coastal policy framework. RBMPs and SMPs work together to support a sustainable approach to water and erosion management at the coast.

See the UK’s Marine Strategy Part 3: programme of measures.

RBMPs in England, Wales and Scotland

Use the map to find your RBD.

There are 11 RBDs in England and Wales. The Environment Agency manages the 7 RBDs in England.

Natural Resources Wales manage the Western Wales RBD. NRW and the Environment Agency jointly manage the Dee and Severn RBDs. See the RBMPs for Western Wales and Dee on the Natural Resources Wales website.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Environment Agency jointly manage the Solway Tweed RBD. See the Solway Tweed RBMP on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency website.

Anglian river basin district RBMP: 2015

Humber river basin district RBMP: 2015

Northumbria river basin district RBMP: 2015

North West river basin district RBMP: 2015

Severn river basin district RBMP: 2015

The Severn river basin district includes catchments in Wales and England. See the River Basin Management Planning Overview Annex document. This provides more detail behind the national decision making process for those water bodies in Wales.

South East river basin district RBMP: 2015

South West river basin district RBMP: 2015

Thames river basin district RBMP: 2015

Published 18 February 2016
Last updated 22 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added information about the draft river basin management plans 2021 consultation running from 22 October 2021 to 22 April 2022.

  2. Added a paragraph on the Environment Agency's conclusion that the requirement for a strategic environmental assessment for the third cycle review of the river basin management plans can be screened out. Added a link to the screening report summarising this.

  3. Added a link to the Challenges and Choices consultation response summary report.

  4. Our review and update of the current RBMPs is underway. We expect the consultation on the draft RBMPs to start in 2021. You can see the submitted responses and consultation documents on the consultation website. We will publish the consultation response document in November 2020.

  5. We've added a link to the Challenges and Choices consultation (the second of 3) which will help shape the next cycle of river basin planning.

  6. Added details of the summary report for the 2018 consultation findings on the update to the river basin management plans for 2021.

  7. Added link to Working Together consultation which begins on 22 June 2018.

  8. First published.