The Water Framework Directive requires certain protections for areas of land that supply drinking water (Drinking Water Protection Areas), as well as areas that fall under the protection of other directives. These areas include nutrient-sensitive areas, including areas identified as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones under the Nitrates Directive or areas designated as sensitive under Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD). These protected areas need to be included in river basin management plans.

Under the Water Resources Act 1991, the Secretary of State also has the power to designate Water Protection Zones (WPZs).

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