The Catchment Based Approach

The Catchment Based Approach was set up by Defra, with the overall aim of delivering a better quality water environment for all the river catchments in England and Wales.

The objectives for the Catchment Based Approach are:

  • To deliver positive and sustained outcomes for the water environment by promoting a better understanding of the environment at a local level; and

  • To encourage local collaboration and more transparent decision-making when both planning and delivering activities to improve the water environment.

Catchment partnerships look at the water environment in terms of all the ecosystems services connected to a healthy catchment and aim for better integration of planning and activities to deliver multiple benefits. So, as well as helping to deliver improvements in water quality, a key requirement of the Water Framework Directive, the catchment based approach also provides a platform for engagement, discussion and decisions of much wider benefit, including tackling diffuse agricultural and urban pollution, habitat improvements and widespread, historical alterations to the natural form of channels.

Find out more about the Catchment Based Approach