Why do we need a Catchment Management Plan?

Most of the UK’s rivers are not as healthy as they should be. Although many have improved dramatically over the past few decades, current problems include pollution, invasive non-native species, over-abstraction and physical modifications such as weirs. As a result, wildlife has disappeared from many of our rivers and people are finding other places to spend their leisure time.

This problem has been recognised at a European level, by the Water Framework Directive.

This is a piece of European legislation, which states that all waterbodies (rivers, lakes, seas) in the UK must be in ‘good ecological status’, i.e. be clean and healthy, and contain the ‘right’ type and number of animals and plants. The UK has a legal obligation to meet this target.

Why the catchment-based approach?

The Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency (EA) are tasked with getting our rivers to ‘good ecological status’. Catchment Management Plans are a key part of their strategy for doing this. Previous attempts by these organisations to manage river catchments and reach their WFD targets failed, because the plans were too large, too generic and didn’t include local people. This time, the approach is very different.

The new approach will create plans that are specific to each catchment, as each river has different challenges and opportunities. Instead of being imposed ‘from above’ by Defra, this Catchment Management Plan will be developed and carried out by a partnership of local people who have an interest or stake in the river.

Where can I find the Colne Catchment Plan?

On this website! Our catchment plan is map-based. You can click on the map on the home page to focus on those areas you are interested in. The maps show details of potential, planned, ongoing and completed projects, which we hope will improve the health of the rivers.

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting. From an original concept by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.