WFD Assessments

There’s a lot to think about when starting a new project, with costs and feasibility being just a part of the overall picture. Before your project can go ahead, it’s critical that you get the green light from a regulator, and this can be achieved via a Water Framework Directive (WFD) assessment.

The WFD compliance assessment identifies the hydromorphological, biological and phyisco-chemical quality of the water body (all ground and surface water, including rivers, lakes, transitional water and coastal waters), and focuses on ensuring good qualitative and quantitative health.

An abbreviation for Water Framework Directive, a WFD compliance assessment forms part of the application needed to carry out an activity in a body of water. Any development scheme which has potential to threaten the qualitative or quantitative status of any waterbody is likely to require a WFD assessment. In order to have authorisation granted, a commitment must be made to state that a project will not harm the environment. An WFD assessment is normally formed of two stages – screening assessment and a further assessment (if identified as required from the screening assessment).

WFD compliance assessments are required on housing developments as part of the planning and statutory consenting  process. FiveRivers have an established service providing WFD compliance assessments alongside our other complimentary services of early contractor involvement and design and construction, working with developers to build in cost-effective WFD improvements at the start of a project. Early consideration of WFD compliance is essential in ensuring your project can be delivered on programme and on budget. What’s more, they’re a crucial element in ensuring that the environment is protected.

A member of the FiveRivers’ river condition assessment team
The Problems

UK Law

In accordance with the WFD, proposed developments that have the potential to impact waterbodies are required to demonstrate that the project will not result in a deterioration in ecological status of the waterbody and will not result in the waterbodies being unable to obtain the desired WFD status. This requirement for WFD assessments was transposed into UK law in 2003, and any scheme with the potential to reduce a waterbodies status may not be granted planning or other regulatory permissions to proceed.

The Environment Agency, National Resources Wales, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Local Authorities and Internal Drainage Boards are all required to ensure that any development proposals granted permission to go ahead must be WFD compliant.

The Solutions

Experienced Multi-Disciplinary Teams

At FiveRivers, we offer WFD compliance screening assessments and further assessments to ensure your project gains regulatory approval. We can also advise on and the design of any environmental mitigation for your scheme, providing services such as desktop review of River Basin Management Plans, baseline data collection, liaison with regulatory bodies and compliance assessments.

WFD assessments are multi-faceted, requiring a strong understanding of aquatic ecology, hydro-geomorphology, hydrology and water quality. Fortunately, our multi-disciplinary teams are experienced in assessing schemes to support planning applications, all the way through to Flood Risk Activity Permits (FRAPs), across the UK. Our in-house design team is able to support on embedding environmental mitigation into a scheme. We are members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), meaning we adhere to the highest standards of practice for the benefit of nature and society.

Luke Roberts - Design & Construction General Manager at FiveRivers (5R)

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Talk to an expert in WFD Assessments

Luke Roberts

Construction Manager

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