DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government today published a consultation paper on
proposed new designations under the Freshwater Fish Directive.

The Directive seeks to protect freshwater bodies suitable for sustaining fish populations by setting physical and chemical water quality objectives for designated waters. 

At the end of last year the European Commission issued an Article 226 Reasoned
Opinion to the UK, for failing to comply with the Freshwater Fish Directive
Although the UK already has one of the highest levels of designation in the EU, it is recognised that additional designations are necessary to meet the requirements of the Directive.

In England and Wales it is proposed to designate over 2500 additional stretches of rivers and canals, which amounts to over 11,000km of the monitored watercourse network. A further 90 reservoirs and lakes are also proposed for designation.

The proposed designations were identified by Defra, the Welsh Assembly Government, and the Environment Agency. There will now be a twelve-week consultation period on the proposals and following consideration of the response from interested parties the designations will be formally made in the autumn.

At present 20,000km of monitored river length is designated in England and Wales. 139 still waters are currently designated either individually or through in-line designation.

The consultation paper is available at:

Further information on the Directive can be found at: and