Further description:- United Kingdom  Planning 

Glossary Entry:- United Kingdom  Planning




Overview
The Environment Agency for England and Wales are currently drafting their groundwater strategy. 
This will replace the Policy and Practice for the Protection of Groundwater and takes into account
the needs of the Water Framework Directive and recent changes to Planning Law. The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency have produced a new 'Groundwater Protection Policy'
which aims to provide a sustainable future for Scotland's groundwater resources by protecting legitimate
uses of groundwater and providing a common SEPA framework The Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) have published their Policy and Practice
for the Protection of Groundwater. All these documents can be accessed from the further description page.
1. General Approach
Groundwater is a widespread and vital national resource providing water for rivers, wetlands and 
water supplies. It is important nationally for both industry and agriculture and in some locations
it may be the only practical source of fresh water. The UK's aims for groundwater protection and management are to: - ensure groundwater meet the needs of the environment and people; - manage surface water and groundwater as an integrated whole; - use robust pollution prevention measures to protect groundwater; - achieve the environmental objectives of the Water Framework Directive; - make information on groundwater available and raise the general awareness of groundwater issues;
- undertake research to better understand groundwater processes; and - integrate groundwater management policies within the wider environmental framework. Groundwater is a key element of the water cycle and is the UK¡¦s largest available resource of fresh
water. In England and Wales as a whole, groundwater supplies around one third of our drinking water.
However, this proportion varies regionally and over lowland England, where the land use pressures
are greatest, half of all our supplies are groundwater derived and this rises to over 70% in the south-east.
In rural areas groundwater may form the only source of supply to isolated properties. Groundwater
also provides a large proportion of the water in our rivers and sustains flows in dry weather. This
base-flow is vital to maintain river water quality and the dependent flora and fauna, but if groundwater
is polluted it can threaten river ecosystems. River water can also flow into the ground for example
through swallow holes and become groundwater. If the river water is poor quality this can cause groundwater
pollution, possibly impacting on groundwater abstractions at a considerable distance from the
river. This clearly demonstrates the need for integrated management of surface water and groundwater.
The risk-based approach to groundwater protection balances the threat to the environment with
the benefits from the proposed activity or development. All activities involve some risk and it is
the role of risk assessment to inform decisions about accepting, managing or minimising those risks.
The objectives, interests and responsibilities of stakeholders may be varied and contradictory,
but our decisions on how best to manage environmental risks will always be informed by stakeholder
concerns. A risk-based approach is applied to groundwater protection in part because of the complexity of
the interacting physical, chemical and biological processes in the sub-surface and the difficulties
associated with directly observing these processes. Regulators often have to rely on restricted
data that may not be fully representative, yet still make decisions, knowing as best as they can the
risks involved. Conceptual models are often essential to support this process. These are based on
scientific principles supported by available data and a professional assessment of the local circumstances.
Developers or operators may need to seek professional assistance with their proposals, as decisions
based on poor understanding or analysis of the groundwater environment can lead to costly mistakes
with long lasting impacts.
 
2. Policy and Regulation
2.1 Policy
England and Wales     
     
The Environment Agency for England and Wales are currently drafting their groundwater strategy. 
This will replace the Policy and Practice for the Protection of Groundwater and takes into account
the needs of the Water Framework Directive and recent changes to Planning Law. The Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act of May 2004 introduced significant changes to the planning
system. Each planning region will have a Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), or for Wales the Wales Spatial
Plan (WSP). These will set out the general principles and the likely restrictions on development.
As the RSS or WSP will form a part of the statutory development plan for an area, these strategies provide
an important opportunity for the Agency to influence strategic planning. The Groundwater Strategy,
especially in Part 4, will provide the basis for the Agency¡¦s submissions into the RSS/WSP process.
Below the RSS level are Local Development Documents (LDDs) which will replace local plans, unitary
development plans and county structure plans. The LDDs will be prepared by local planning authorities,
although County Councils will prepare minerals and waste LDDs, which will be particularly relevant
to groundwater protection issues. The Agency will seek to influence all LDDs to achieve its aims and
objectives. The Environment Agency has incorporated groundwater protection objectives into its
own model planning policies for Local Planning Authorities to consider, as part of the LDD process
and this Strategy will support that process. http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk Scotland SEPA have produced a new 'Groundwater Protection Policy' which aims to provide a sustainable future
for Scotland's groundwater resources by protecting legitimate uses of groundwater and providing
a common SEPA framework to: - Protect groundwater quality by minimising the risks posed by point and diffuse sources of pollution;
- Maintain the groundwater resource by influencing the design of abstractions and developments,
which could affect groundwater quantity. The new version of the Policy comprises of an overarching section, which describes the general
principles of groundwater protection and states the overall Policy objectives, supported by subject-specific
sections that outline the mechanisms to achieve the objectives. Subject specific sections should
be read in conjunction with the overarching Policy but can be read in isolation from the other supporting
sections http://www.sepa.org.uk/groundwater/index.htm Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) policy in the field of water quality is: 'To maintain or improve quality in surface waters and waters in underground strata as required
by national policy, EC Directives and international agreements, and to generally manage river,
estuarine, and coastal waters to be at least 'Good' under the adopted classification schemes with
no downward movement between classes.' http://www.ehsni.gov.uk/environment/waterManage/policy/pol The EHS have published their Policy and Practice for the Protection of Groundwater. http://www.ehsni.gov.uk/pubs/publications/Policy_and_Pract
 
2.2 Regulation
It is an offence to pollute groundwaters under the Water Resources Act 1991. The European Community 
Directive on Groundwater (80/68/EEC) requires that specific measures be taken to prevent pollution
by chemicals in two categories: those that should be prevented from entering groundwaters (List
I), and those that 'should be minimised' and could have a harmful effect (List II).
 
3. Funding
Site Project Funding
Not applicable 
 
R&D funding
Soil Protection
Research Type: Applied

Topics: Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, Remediation options, Remediation options overview Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview Soil, Soil Overview

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


Soil Biodiversity Programme
Research Type: Basic

Topics: Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Soil, Soil Overview

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


URGENT (Urban Regeneration and the Environment)
Research Type: Basic

Topics: Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview Soil, Soil Overview

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


'Infrastructure and Environment' programme and 'Engineering' programme
Research Type: Basic

Topics: Engineering, Infrastructure and Environment, Brownfields, Contaminated land, Groundwater protection, Funding, Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


Bioremediation LINK Programme
Research Type: Applied, Basic

Topics: (1) To understand and exploit natural attenuation in groundwater and soil (demonstration, modelling, prediction, definition of operating window). (2) To improve engineered in-situ bioremediation, interfacing microbiology with engineering and hydrogeology; dealing with heterogeneity, improved process control and optimisation. (3) To translate the results of laboratory studies into the field (scale-up). (4) To position bioremediation within a risk management framework - bioavailability, risk-based end points and residue behaviour. (5) To develop the ability to monitor in-situ microbial processes. (6) To understand the constraints on in-situ microbial processes. (7) To integrate bioremediation with other technologies. (8) To quantify human health impacts of bioremediation and develop surrogate testing. (9) To address socio-economic issues- perception of bioremediation technologies and decision-support mechanisms.

Submitted by: Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?

Full Details |


Land Contamination
Research Type: Applied

Topics: site assessment for land contamination, decision support tools for risk management, remediation of contaminated soils, sediments, and groundwater, Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


Defra Web Page on: Contaminated Land - funding
Research Type: Demonstration

Topics: There are several measures which support the clean up of contaminated land, and these are described on this web page

Submitted by: Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?

Full Details |



Market Information
Not applicable 
 
4: Management tools / decision support and guidance

No further information available

5. Authors


 
    
6. Acknowledgements