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’re 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 business to thrive. And is one of the means for boosting regeneration (both structural and economic), recreation and tourism.

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

These updated 2015 plans build on the work we’ve already done to protect and improve over 9,320 miles of our rivers over the last 5 years. They set out how a minimum of 680 (14%) of waters will improve over the next 6 years from around £3 billion investment.

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. We have prepared them in line with ministerial guidance, they fulfil the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and contribute to the objectives of other EU directives.

Learn more about the Water Framework Directive.

Update to the RBMPs

We must review and update RBMPs every 6 years.

The review and update of the current RBMPs is now underway. The Challenges and Choices consultation (the second of 3) is now open. You have until 24 April 2020 to provide responses.

The Working Together consultation (the first of 3) ran between 22 June and 22 December 2018. To see how we’re using this information to help shape the next cycle of river basin planning, you can:

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

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

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

RBMPs in England and Wales

Use the map to find your RBD.

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

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) 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 NRW website.

RBMPs in Scotland

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Environment Agency jointly manage the Solway Tweed RBD. See the Solway Tweed RBMP on the SEPA 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 25 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. 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.

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

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

  4. First published.