River basin planning

Closed 22 Apr 2022

Opened 22 Jun 2018


Updating the river basin management plans has been delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Environment Agency is aiming to publish the draft river basin management plans for consultation on October 22nd 2021 for a 6 month consultation period, to co-ordinate with the 3 month consultation on the draft flood risk management plans. 

Water is a precious resource that we can’t live without, from supplying drinking water and supporting fisheries to providing an essential resource to business and agriculture, and a source of recreation.

Water pollution and drought threaten these things. Therefore, it is critical that our rivers, lakes, estuaries, coastal areas, wetlands and groundwater are managed properly. This ensures the needs of society, the economy and environment can be met and maintained over the long-term.

River basin planning provides an overarching strategic framework for managing the water environment. River basin management plans include the objectives and measures required to protect and improve the water environment. Water and land resources are closely linked and so river basin management plans also inform decisions on land-use planning and work alongside other plans and strategies, such as flood risk management plans.


  • Flood risk management plans and river basin management plans are strategic plans to support the delivery of the government's 25 Year Environment Plan and the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England
  • We are aiming to publish draft RBMPs for a 6-month consultation from 22 October 2021, to co-ordinate with the 3-month consultation on draft FRMPs.
  • You can find out more about flood risk and the draft flood risk management plans consultation by visiting the Introducing flood risk management plans information page


Why your views matter

The current river basin management plans were published in February 2016. The updated plans will be informed by three consultations below, which started in 2018.

By responding to these consultations you will be helping to shape the management of the water environment. The information gathered through these consultations help us produce updates to the current river basin management plans.

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 in response to a changing climate and a growing population.


  • 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
  • Environment Agency colleagues


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