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You are here: Home / The European environment – state and outlook 2010 / Country assessments / United Kingdom / Freshwater - National Responses (United Kingdom)

Freshwater - National Responses (United Kingdom)

Topics: ,
SOER Common environmental theme from United Kingdom
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

Defra’s water strategy for England (‘Future Water’) sets out plans and practical steps that will be taken.

Water quality

·        The UK met a key milestone in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive with the publication of its River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

·        Within each RBMP, a programme of measures have been established to deliver indentified improvements to water bodies, ensuring that water bodies currently at good status or better do not deteriorate, and those water bodies that are not at good status are restored.

·        Catchment Sensitive Farming is land management that keeps diffuse emissions of pollutants to levels consistent with the ecological sensitivity and uses of rivers, groundwaters and other aquatic habitats

·        The Groundwater Regulations were made in November 1998 to complete transposition of the Groundwater Directive. This was followed by ‘groundwater protection codes’, giving advice on how the regulations apply to sheep dip, petrol stations and solvents.

Water abstraction and use

Measures to reduce demand for water include:

·        Management measures undertaken by the private water companies in England and Wales.

·        The Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme enables businesses to claim 100 per cent first year capital allowances on investments in technologies and products included in the Water Technology List.

·        In England Government has introduced Building Regulations to set a whole building performance standard of 125 litres per person per day for water use in new homes.

·        In England there are water companies targets to reduce their leakage to its economic level, below which it would cost more to reduce leakage further than to produce water from an alternative source.

Flooding

·        In England and Wales, The Flood and Water Management Act received Royal Assent in April 2010. It will allow more comprehensive management of flood risk for people, homes and businesses.

·        Investment in flood defences in England over the last decade has led to a reduced risk of flooding for around 400,000 households (Figure 10).

 

Figure 10: Cumulative number of households benefiting from reduced likelihood of flooding since 2003-2004 (England)

Figure 10: Cumulative number of households benefiting from reduced likelihood of flooding since 2003-2004 (England)

Source: Flooding in England (2009) EA

 

·        Further information on flood risk in England

·        In Wales, during 2008-9 approximately £20 million was spent on improving flood defences keeping them in good order; around two thirds of the total flood and coastal risk management budget.  Between 2003 and 2009, this has reduced the risk of flooding to more than 5,800 properties (Figure 11).


Figure 11: Cumulative number of households benefiting from reduced likelihood of flooding since 2003-2004 (Wales)

 

Figure 11: Cumulative number of households benefiting from reduced likelihood of flooding since 2003-2004 (Wales)

Source: Flooding in Wales (2009) EA

 

·        In Northern Ireland during 2009-10 approximately £5.5m has been spent on flood defence and drainage infrastructure schemes. Between 2003 and 2009 flood risk has been reduced to around 2,400 housing equivalents. The Water Environment (Floods Directive) Regulations (NI) 2009 which transpose the EU Floods Directive, will introduce a more sustainable and modern approach to flood risk management.

·        Through the Flood Risk Management Act 2009, in Scotland has introduced a more sustainable and modern approach to flood risk management.

·        Investment in flood prevention schemes in Scotland has also increased substantially over the past decade (Figure 12).

 

Figure 12: Cumulative investment in Flood Prevention Schemes in Scotland under the 1961 Flood Prevention (Scotland) Act.

Figure 12: Cumulative investment in Flood Prevention Schemes in Scotland under the 1961 Flood Prevention (Scotland) Act.

Source: Written Answers 15 April 2008. S3W-11510. Edinburgh: Scottish Parliament.

·        Following the floods of summer 2007, 92 recommendations for flood risk management were published (progress report)

·        Work is being done on improving flood warning and prediction services with residents in flood risk areas now able to sign up to receive individual flood warnings. Further preparation for flood emergencies is also underway.

·        Scottish Planning Policy 7 (SPP7) aims to prevent development which would have a significant probability of being flooded or which would increase the impact of flooding elsewhere.

·        In Northern Ireland Planning Policy Statement 15: Planning and Flood Risk outlines the precautionary approach to flood risk management that has been adopted.

·        In December 2008, the Scottish Government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued a Statement of Principles on the provision of flood insurance. Under the agreement, the ABI and the Scottish Government will work together on measures to manage and reduce the growing flood threat. A copy of the agreement can be found at:

·        In August 2009 the Northern Ireland Executive and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued a Statement of Principles on the provision of flood insurance. Under this Agreement, the ABI and the Northern Ireland Executive will work together on measures to provide a long-term solution that will enable flood insurance to continue to be widely available.

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