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.
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
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
The EHS have published their Policy and Practice for the Protection of Groundwater.
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).