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Floods and Water Management Bill: Defra has a long way to go say MPs


The official response of the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee to the draft Floods and Water Management Bill describes the legislation as ‘a confusing mix of measures, many of them poorly drafted’. The MPs would rather a more coherent and comprehensive strategy in keeping with the vision of Future Water. Whilst there is no specific mention of groundwater the MPs response acknowledges work by the Environment Agency to further develop their flood and surface water capabilities. Recognising the additional powers that the Environment Agency and local authorities will have there is a call for proper safeguards such as an appropriate appeals process.

To read the MPs response to the Floods and Water Management Bill please visit


River Basin Management Plans submitted to Ministers for approval


Management plans for river basins in England and Wales have been submitted to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and to Welsh ministers to be approved. The River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) are required as part of the Water Framework Directive and will outline measures to improve the water environment including groundwater bodies. The final RBMPs are due to be published on the 22 Dec 2009.

To view the draft RBMPs for England and Wales please visit the Environment Agency website at


Environmental Permits for Mining Waste Operations


Following the introduction of the Mining Waste Directive in July 2009 the Environment Agency has drafted additional guidance for mining waste operations to ensure they comply with the new Environmental Permitting process. The guidance explains measures required to ensure that groundwater is not polluted by the mining waste activities and also outlines which water management facilities will be regulated under the environmental permit.

The draft guidance is open for consultation until the 1 October 2009. To read the draft guidance please visit the Environment Agency website at


Ofwat and WWF support plans to time-limited abstraction licences


A joint statement issued by Ofwat and the WWF offers support to government plans to change the water abstraction licensing process. Earlier this year Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) consulted on proposals to increase time limiting of abstraction licences. Dr. Tom Le Quesne of the WWF comments that the current abstraction licensing regime is flawed, adding that ‘climate change is adding extra urgency to the development of effective ways of managing our natural resources’.

For the full news item please visit Ofwat’s website at


Addressing the nitrate problem


Diffuse nitrate pollution caused by prolonged agricultural activities is a big problem for rivers, lakes and aquifers as levels creep above acceptable limits. An EC LIFE Environment Project has been working on this problem and claims to offer a potential solution. The project team have reported that nitrate levels in shallow groundwater have been reduced by up to 90% at a test site in Northern Ireland. A permeable reactive barrier was used to convert nitrates in the groundwater to nitrogen gas before it entered the river.

The full news article can be viewed on the European Water News website at

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