Currently, the Environment Agency are updating their groundwater vulnerability maps to reflect improvements in data mapping and understanding of the factors affecting vulnerability. Additionally, there will new groundwater vulnerability maps for Wales, which have been developed using the same method.
Two documents help to underpin the update, namely:
Groundwater Vulnerability Maps – Technical Summary
New groundwater vulnerability mapping methodology in England and Wales
The ‘New groundwater vulnerability mapping methodology’ report provides technical information about how the new maps have been created. The user guide outlines the kinds of activities the new maps can be used for.
These reports have been published in advance of the release of the new maps to give users time to understand the new approach and how this differs from the previous groundwater vulnerability maps.
These maps provide key evidence for the Environment Agency’s assessment of the exposure of groundwater to a pollution hazard from a given activity as part of its permitting activity work. They form part of a suite of tools developed by the Environment Agency for groundwater protection, including source protection zones and position statements. Further information on groundwater protection can be found in the Environment Agency’s Groundwater protection: principles and practice (GP3) guidance.
The new maps for England will be released later in 2017 and will be freely available for non commercial users from the Environment Agency and the MAGIC website. Additionally, the British Geological Survey will provide the data for a fee for commercial users.
Further information on the final publication of the Groundwater Vulnerability Maps with links to these above sites will be provided in a subsequent article on this website.