Defra announced on 16 October a further consultation which is the final stage in a process of developing the environmental quality standards and other criteria recommended for use in classification in the first river basin planning cycle. It also includes recommendations on methodologies for the use of those standards and criteria to classify all WFD water bodies. Defra indicates that the consultation period is shorter than usual because almost all the information contained in it has previously been made available for consultation or technical review and in order to complete this consultation before the Environment Agency publishes draft River Basin Management Plans for consultation. New information includes groundwater threshold values and status boundary values for biological quality elements. Responses are due by 19 December.