The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on the physical condition of Scotland’s water environment which aims to strengthen the delivery framework. Three broad areas of work are proposed:
- promote a more structured approach and greater collaboration in the development and delivery of river restoration project
- accelerate SEPA’s existing programme of CAR licence reviews for dams, and
- introduce legislative provisions to help SEPA ensure that structures owned by public authorities do not cause adverse impacts or prevent fish passage.
The consultation on the second round of River Basin Management identifies that, in Scotland, the banks and beds of over 300 water bodies are adversely affected. This is caused by the legacy of historic engineering activities such as the construction of dams, weirs and culverts, and land use activities such as poaching by livestock and cultivation close to the watercourse. This is one of the most challenging aspects of SEPA’s work to improve Scotland’s water environment. Progress to date has been relatively limited, and the challenge is to develop a more strategic approach underpinned by legislative drivers and financial incentives.
The consultation will run until 22 May 2015. It is expected that the finalised Regulations will be laid before the Scottish Parliament in the autumn of 2015.