The third-generation river basin management plans (RBMPs) run from 2021-2027 However, the work on the new plans has been put on hold pending the political discussions in the agricultural area. But with the political agreement of 4 October 2021 on green transition of Danish agriculture, we are one step closer to finalising the next generation of RBMPs.

The Minister for the Environment will prepare an RBMP for each river basin district. Denmark is divided into four river basin districts:

  • River basin district Jutland and Funen
  • River basin district Zealand
  • River basin district Bornholm
  • International river basin district

The RBMPs constitute an overall plan for improving the Danish aquatic environment and are to inform authorities and the public about e.g.:

  • Plans to improve the environment status of water supply sources.
  • Means to achieve the desired environmental status.
  • A time schedule for achieving the desired environmental status.

A communication tool

The RBMPs are not binding but are a communication tool. The binding water planning appears from the Executive Order on environmental objectives for surface water areas and groundwater sources and from the Executive Order on programmes of initiatives for river basin districts.

The RBMPs cover a period of six years and are therefore to be revised and updated every six years.

  • First plan period: 2009-2016
  • Second plan period: 2015-2021
  • Third plan period: 2021-2027.

The RBMPs for the third plan period (2021-2027) are based on an update of the RBMPs from the two previous plan periods.

Political negotiations are delaying the process

The Minister for the Environment is to publish draft RBMPs for the plan period no later than one year before each plan period. According to the work programme for the RBMPs 2021-2027, draft RBMPs were therefore to be published no later than 20 December 2020 while the final RBMPs were to be published no later than 22 December 2021.

However, in February 2021, the Minister for the Environment informed the Environmental and Food Committee of the Danish parliament that the publication of draft RBMPs 2021-2027 was delayed, and that it would not be possible to finalise the draft RBMPs until the political discussions in the agricultural area had been completed.

Agreement on green transition of danish agriculture - a step closer

Together with a wide majority of the parties in the Danish parliament, the Government entered into an agreement on green transition of Danish agriculture on 4 October 2021. This means that it is now possible to finalise draft RBMPs for 2021-2027.

In the briefing from February 2021 by the Minister for the Environment, the Minister stated that the completion of the draft RBMPs is expected to take approx. three months after the political discussions in the agricultural area have been concluded. When the draft RBMPs have been finalised, they will go out for consultation for six months.

The final RBMPs for 2021-2027 are therefore significantly delayed, and the current RBMPs for 2015-2021 therefore still apply until they are replaced by the new RBMPs.


Henriette Soja

Partner (H)

Signe Eggert Bojesen-Koefoed