The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) was adopted in 2000. The purpose of the Directive is to establish a framework for the protection of inland surface waters (rivers and lakes), transitional waters (estuaries), coastal waters (to one nautical mile) and groundwater.
To meet the objectives of the WFD Member States have established River Basin Districts and developed Plans and Programmes of Measures that detail the actions that need to be taken within each District. The overall aim is for the ‘water bodies’ and ‘protected areas’ within each River Basin District to achieve 'good ecological status' by 2015.
There are ten River Basin Districts wholly or partly in England, Maps and River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) (Environment Agency)
In England, 237 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) have been identified wholly or partly as water-dependent under Article 6 of the WFD. These include rivers, lakes, canals, estuaries and coastal waters - as well as wetlands (bogs, fens and grazing marshes) which do not qualify as ‘water bodies’.
Each RBMP contains a table (Annex D) setting out the objectives, status and measures for Natura Protected Areas in that River Basin District. You can see the current status of these sites on Natural England’s website through Nature on the Map.
The mapping tool reveals which parts of each Natura Protected Area are water-dependent, and which of these units are in ‘favourable’ or ‘unfavourable’ condition due to water-related causes.
Enter the name of the Protected Area in the search box and click on ‘GO’.
From the list which appears, select SAC or SPA (usually at the foot of the list).
When the map appears, adjust scale to 1:100,000 or 1:50,000 – the WFD layers appear.
To view the hatched units more clearly, click on ‘remove highlights’ (eraser in left-hand margin).