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River basin planning and management: challenges and choices

environment agency logo and banner of river basin landscapes

The Environment Agency are consulting about the future of river basin planning and management. If you have views, knowledge or expertise that are relevant to the ongoing and future management of the water environment in the UK, the Geological Society would like to hear from you.

Have your say on the future of river basin planning

We are collating comments from individuals and organisations to produce a sector-wide response to this consultation from the geosciences. If you have expertise that could assist us with our response, please add your contact details to our database, or email to find out more.

Please submit any comments to us by Monday 30 March 2020.

Why are the Environment Agency consulting?

Today, the asset value of fresh water in the UK is estimated to be £39.5 billion. Only 16% of England’s groundwater, rivers, lakes, estuaries and seas are close to their natural state. At the current rate of progress it will take over 200 years to reach the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan target of at least 75% of waters to be close to their natural state. 

Our climate is changing and there are more of us than ever before. This brings with it some big challenges which need us to make equally big choices. We urgently need to find better, faster ways to get more investment in our water environment.

What will this consultation achieve?

This consultation aims to gather views on how the Environment Agency can:

  • Balance the water needs of people and nature
  • Maintain and improve water quality in rivers, lakes, canals, seas, and groundwater despite threats from development, industry, agriculture, population growth and climate change

This is with a view to updating and publishing the river basin management strategy in 2021.

We want to hear from you! 

Our response to the Environment Agency will address the ways in which the geosphere can contribute to improved river basin management and planning. Specifically, we are seeking comments from geoscientists with relevant expertise and opinions on:

  1. The role of the subsurface in supporting biodiversity and wetlands
  2. Aquifer and groundwater management
  3. Pollution from mine workings, industry, agriculture, urban activities and plastics
  4. The impact of physical modifications e.g. flood preventions, coastline maintenance, soil management, etc.

Get involved

  • Read our summary of the geoscience-relevant areas from the consultation on which we are seeking comments, or see the consultation documents in full.
  • You can provide comments on any aspect of this consultation via our online form. Your comments are essential to the breadth and diversity of our response on behalf of the geoscience community.
  • Interested in our policy work, but can’t get involved with this consultation? Add your details to our database of expertise and we will contact you when relevant consultations open for comment.
  • Email us at with any questions or to find out more!