River basin planning

Closes 22 Dec 2021

Opened 22 Jun 2018


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 wildlife can be met and maintained over the long-term.

River basin planning provides an overarching strategic framework for managing that water environment. River basin management plans include the objectives and actions 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 strategies, such as flood risk management plans.

Why We Are Consulting

The current river basin management plans were published in February 2016 and must be reviewed and updated by the end of 2021. Starting in 2018, there will be three consultations that will help shape the updated plans.

Give Us Your Views

The consultations are your opportunity to help shape the review and update of the river basin management plans. Click on the links below for more information and to access the consultation.

Working Together: June 2018 (closed December 2018)

Through the Working Together consultation you gave us your views on the work plan, timetable and process for how we should work together with stakeholders to review and update river basin management plans in 2021.

Click here for more information on the Working Together consultation and to read our consultation response document.

Challenges and Choices: October 2019 (closing April 2020)

Challenges and choices asks for views on the significant water management issues and how these should be addressed.

This consultation will be open for responses from 24 October 2019 to 24 April 2020

Draft updated river basin management plans: October 2020 (closing April 2021)

The draft updated river basin management plans consultation asks for your views on the proposed long term objectives for the water environment and the measures to achieve them.

This consultation will be open for responses in October 2020


  • 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