Policy paper

Catchment Based Approach: Improving the quality of our water environment

This publication was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A policy framework to encourage the wider adoption of an integrated Catchment Based Approach to improving the quality of our water environment.



In March 2011, the government announced that it would fundamentally review its river basin planning strategy in the context of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), with a new focus on institutional arrangements and processes. The pilot phase of the Catchment Based Approach aimed to provide a clear understanding of the issues in the catchment, to involve local communities in decision-making.

This policy framework - informed by the pilot phase - will establish catchment partnerships to work collaboratively with local stakeholders across all of England’s 83 catchments. The aim is to deliver improved water quality and more ambitious River Basin Management Plans that contribute to meeting our targets under the European Framework Directive.