Draft river basin management plans

Closed 22 Apr 2022

Opened 22 Oct 2021

Results updated 13 Sep 2022

The Draft river basin management plans consultation: summary of responses document is available to view: 

River basin planning: draft river basin management plans - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The document summarises the main points raised from the 270 responses we received from this consultation on the draft RBMPs.

The main themes you told us about are:

  • biodiversity

  • chemicals and plastics

  • climate change

  • flood and coastal erosion risk management

  • funding

  • implementation

  • nature-based solutions

  • partnership working

  • planning and regulation

  • rural issues and rural land management

  • urban issues

  • water industry

You largely supported the implementation principles. However, you asked for more detail on how the principles will be implemented. Most agreed with the environmental objectives in the RBMPs. You wanted the environmental objectives to be achieved as soon as possible to help the environment deal with climate change. At the same time, you acknowledged that the scale of the challenge to achieve the objectives will also increase because of the pace of climate change. Many of you are concerned about the lack of progress since the last river basin management plans towards meeting good ecological status. You said that the draft RBMPs lack ambition.

Many of you wanted more clarity and improvements to the information about measures and you found this information difficult to use. Some of you wanted and expected to see more information on local measures about local places presented in a more accessible way. Conversely, other people wanted to see greater clarity on the strategic approach to prioritising action across different catchments (that is between different local places).

Catchment partnership pages are included in the RBMPs for the first time and you welcomed them. Many of you said the partnership pages demonstrate the growing importance of the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) and catchment partnerships in implementing RBMPs.

There was wide agreement on these issues:

  • a system-wide approach, from source to sea, is the most appropriate way to manage the water environment

  • wider engagement with water users to increase knowledge of the importance of clean and plentiful water, and compliance with water quality regulations and water efficiency measures

  • a long-term planning approach to adapt to climate change

  • the significant collective challenge now and ahead, particularly regarding chemicals

  • changes to planning and regulation across government, and adequate funding to deal with the impact of activity in urban areas, housing, water supply and rural areas

  • the need for more nature-based solutions, accepting and managing the risk inherent in these approaches

  • long-term funding for organisations, particularly catchment partnerships, to improve the environment by working collaboratively using the catchment based approach

  • monitoring and data collection using a wider range of sources, including citizen science

  • better linking across other plans and strategies and with partners, for example on flood risk management and managing coastal waters

  • more easily searchable data, particularly at more local levels

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Welcome to the consultation on updating the river basin management plans for the protection and improvement of the water environment. We would like to get your feedback to help inform and improve this update. You can view the draft plans by following links from this consultation.

Each page of this consultation introduces an area of the draft plans that we would like your feedback on. You will also have the opportunity to provide comments on any other aspects of the draft plans. We suggest you read through these consultation pages before reading the draft plans themselves. The consultation is open for 6 months, from 22 October 2021 to 22 April 2022. 

The draft river basin management plans are published on GOV.UK.
You can also access the draft plan data on the catchment data explorer and view maps on the draft river basin management plan map viewer.
There is also the guide to the draft river basin management plans, which explains the documents and the systems the draft plan information is held on.
If you need further assistance with accessing these plans, please contact us at RBMPconsultation@environment-agency.gov.uk 
A simple 'how to' information page has been created to assist with finding the information and data relevant to you in the draft plans.
This consultation covers the draft plans for all river basin districts that are entirely in England, along with those for the Severn and Northumbria which lie partly in Wales and Scotland respectively.

Image of a family feeding ducks at Goring on the river Thames

Image of Goring on the River Thames by Louise Broom

Why your views matter

By responding to this consultation, you will be helping to shape the management of the water environment. We will use the information you provide to help us produce updates to the current river basin management plans which were published in 2016.

We will also use your responses to help us consider how some of the current approaches to the management of water in England will need to change over the medium and long term in response to the changing climate and a growing population.  

What happens next

Consultation responses are now being analysed and will be used to inform the update to the river basin management plans. 

A summary of the responses will be published in summer 2022.


  • Recreational and commercial river users
  • Fishing clubs and representative associations
  • Members of the public with an interest in the river, the species and conservation
  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Statutory organisations
  • NGOs
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils
  • Academics
  • The nuclear industry
  • All water abstractors
  • Environment Agency customers
  • Net fishing license holders
  • River based salmon angling owners/fishing clubs/organisations
  • Individual migratory salmonid licence holders
  • Business that buy salmon/supported by salmon net and rod fishing
  • Angling trade contacts
  • National based fishery, conservation and landowner organisations
  • Government family organisations
  • IDBs
  • Local authorities
  • District and parish councils
  • Environmental bodies
  • Land owners
  • Farming associations
  • Drainage associations
  • RFCCs
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Water companies
  • Members of the public
  • Recreational and commercial river users
  • Community groups
  • Flood action groups
  • Metal recycling trade associations and site operators
  • Operators
  • Medium Combustion Plants
  • Trade associations and business
  • Other regulators
  • Members of the public
  • Community groups
  • Non-governmental organisations with an interest in environmental issues
  • Environment Agency colleagues
  • Lead Local Flood Authorities
  • Local Risk Management Authorities
  • Flood Resilience Forums
  • Somerset Rivers Authority
  • Members of the public
  • Town and parish councils
  • Regional Flood and Coastal Committees
  • Internal Drainage Boards
  • Engagement specialists/operational staff in Natural Resources Wales, local authorities and other risk management authorities


  • Business and industry
  • Flood management
  • Coastal management
  • Fishing and boating
  • Water resources
  • Water quality
  • Drought
  • Habitats and wildlife
  • Waste
  • Permits
  • Nuclear
  • Environmental permitting
  • Installation
  • Radioactive substances regulations