Improving Water Quality and Tackling Water Pollution

Date: 1st March 2017

Location: Central London

Improving Water Quality and Tackling Water Pollution -

Exploring the Future of Water Management in Post-Brexit Britain

A Public Policy Exchange Symposium

10:15am – 4:30pm

Efforts to improve the quality of rivers, streams, lakes, groundwater and coastal waters in the UK have been going on for many years, mostly driven by the requirements of EU Directives (Water Framework Directive, the Drinking Water Directive and the Bathing Water Directive). However, with Britain’s recent decision to leave the European Union leading to increased discussions about the future of water policy in the UK, this symposium comes at a very timely moment.

The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) required all member states to have at least “good status” of all water bodies by 2015. Although the country has made considerable progress in improving water standards, England is still far from meeting the legally binding EU water pollution targets by 2021, six years after the initial deadline. According to the Environmental Agency’s draft river basin management plans (RBMPs), compliance with the Water Framework Directive standards are expected to have risen to just 25% in 2021, up from 17% in 2015. Improvement measures over those five years are estimated to cost the country more than £25 billion.

In 2015 the Government updated the River Basin Management Plans, a scheme within the Water Framework Directive, established to guide organisations, stakeholders and communities on how to work together to improve the water environment. The plans complement the work underway to develop a wider 25-year plan for the environment and aims to strengthen the potential of data, local partnerships, environmental technology and environmental markets to deliver more for the environment as well as to contribute to economic growth.

With Brexit set to happen by 2018/19 and growing uncertainty over the future of the EU governing policy framework in the UK, this special symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local authorities, central government, water companies, environmental organisations and third sector groups to assess the progress made, identify the challenges in meeting the set goals, discuss strategies to overcome the challenges and explore the future of the water quality improvement framework post-Brexit.

See flyer for further details

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