The Evolution of River Basin Management in England & Wales

November 2006

This brief overview of the historical development of river basin management in England and Wales covers the evolution of the present institutional arrangements and how the inherited water quality has changed over the period 1850 to date.

Three overlapping phases of development are suggested that relate to the political, social and economic imperatives of the time; namely the:

The political and environmental priorities are described for each phase. These priorities provide an understanding of how the legislation and management of our rivers evolved. The history of the River Tame in and around Birmingham is used as an example of what happened at the local government level.

The Guide concludes with a summary of the Water Framework Directive and describes how for the first time a truly holistic approach is being taken to river basin management. Another innovation, the requirement for direct consultation with the public on river basin planning, is also discussed

Copies are available from the Foundation, price 15.00, less 20% to FWR members.

View the full Guide.