We use cookies to provide you with the best experience on our website. No personal information is stored. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the website. Please refer to our privacy statement for further information on our cookies.

Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) home page | Sponsored by Welsh Assembly Government NRW Logo

Countryside Council for Wales
Landscape & wildlife Please note - A new body, Natural Resources Wales has taken over all functions and services previously carried out by Countryside Council for Wales. While the Natural Resources Wales website continues to be developed, some online services will continue to be provided on this web site.

The Water Framework Directive - What is it?

The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a proactive piece of environmental legislation that represented a significant shift in emphasis for water management when it came into force in December 2000. 

Its purpose is to establish a framework for the protection of all inland surface and ground waters, together with all estuarine and coastal waters, which:

"prevents further deterioration and protects and enhances the status of aquatic ecosystems and, with regard to their water needs, terrestrial ecosystems and wetlands directly depending on aquatic ecosystems" (Article 1).

It is a proactive piece of environmental legislation because it requires the UK to put in place aspirational objectives for aquatic ecosystems - and then to put in place a programme of measures in order to achieve them.

These objectives and measures will be set out in a planning document called a River Basin Management Plan.  This will need to integrate with existing planning requirements.  Encouraging the 'active involvement' of interested parties and stakeholders is also a requirement at all stages in the planning process.



Our other sites

Follow Us


twitter logo


Follow our tweets


Youtube Logo


Subscribe to our channel


Flickr Logo


Browse our gallery


Designated Sites Search

Advanced Search
Contact the Team
Postal address
The land and sea use team
C/O Enquiries
LL57 2DW
Telephone number
0845 1306229
Page feedback