The European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) introduces a new, integrated approach to the protection, improvement and sustainable use of Europe's inland surface waters (e.g. rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs), transitional waters (estuaries and coastal waters) and groundwater.
The framework for delivering this Directive is through the River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs). The North Solent SMP area falls entirely within the South East River Basin District. Each RBD has been characterized into smaller management units known as Water Bodies.
The WFD sets broad ecological objectives designed to protect or restore the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems to protect particular uses of the water environment from the effects of pollution, to protect the water environment from especially dangerous chemical substances, and thereby safeguard the sustainable use of water resources.
The requirements of the WFD need to be considered at all stages of the river and coastal planning and development process. For the purposes of large-scale plans, such as SMPs, the consideration of the requirements of the WFD when setting and selecting policies must be necessarily high level but sets the framework for future delivery of smaller-scale strategies or schemes.