Pilot Catchments

Introduction – Defra Catchment-Based Approach and the Pilot Catchments 

In the context of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) the UK government is currently undertaking a fundamental review of River Basin Planning (RBP) focusing on institutional arrangements and processes. Part of this process includes a requirement to engage stakeholders through a more local catchment-based approach in order to develop a sense of common ownership of river catchment problems and their solutions.  Previously water and land management policies have had a tendency to separate issues; this new approach considers these issues jointly through the lens of ecosystems services in order to achieve multiple environmental benefits. 

A series of catchment-level partnerships are being developed in the pilot phase (May 2011 – December 2012) to test these new approaches. Defra commissioned the Cascade Consortium to undertake an independent review of the 25 catchment pilots. The team is working alongside government with a range of stakeholders and communities to collate information provided by the pilots, about what is working well and what could be done better. The research team will ensure that we learn all we can from this vital pilot phase, sharing what we are learning now with each other and with those taking forward catchment management approaches in the future. A key purpose of the evaluation is to assess whether these potentially significant returns can be achieved through a relatively modest investment in the new, catchment-based approach, and if so, which approaches work best, where, for whom and why. For further information please download .

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