Introduction to the Water Framework Directive
The European Water Framework Directive came into force in December 2000 and became part of UK law in December 2003. It gives us an opportunity to plan and deliver a better water environment, focussing on ecology.
The Water Framework Directive will help protect and enhance the quality of:
- surface freshwater (including lakes, streams and rivers)
- groundwater dependant ecosystems
- coastal waters out to one mile from low-water
We are the lead authority in England and Wales for:
- improvements on inland and coastal waters through better land management
- protecting inland and coastal waters from diffuse pollution in urban and rural areas
- driving wiser, sustainable use of water as a natural resource
- creating better habitats for wildlife that lives in and around water
- creating a better quality of life for everyone
We will work towards these goals by:
- making sure the regulations and policies from the Directive get the best results for the environment without too much paperwork
- carrying them out based on data, science and local knowledge
- working with others
Currently a range of inconsistent European legislation covers different aspects of water management. The Directive aims to introduce a simpler approach which will result in greater protection for a vital part of our environment.
In England and Wales, we are the 'competent authority' for carrying out the Directive.
We cannot create a better water environment overnight.