Stronger regulations and improved
monitoring to protect Scotland's rivers, lochs and coastlines were announced
on Thursday 28 April.

The Controlled Activities Regulations will apply to
all activities that impact on the quality of that environment such as abstraction
of water, pollution and building or engineering works. They are designed
to
be flexible, risk-based and proportionate in their application.

Investment
of almost £3 million will extend the groundwater monitoring network and
provide digital mapping of all engineering changes to rivers in Scotland.

Deputy
Environment and Rural Development Minister Lewis Macdonald said: "The
quality of Scotland's water environment affects us all and the Executive
is determined
to protect our lochs, rivers and coastal waters for our own and future
generations. This package of regulation and resources will help ensure
the long-term protection
of our precious water resources and the wildlife they support."

The Water
Framework Directive, introduced in December 2000, applies to all water
in the natural environment - that is all rivers, lochs, estuaries and coastal
waters
as well as water under the ground. It aims to:

  • prevent deterioration
    in the status of surface water and groundwater bodies
  • protect, enhance
    and restore all bodies of surface water and groundwater with the aim
    of achieving good status by 2015
  • prevent or limit the input of pollutants
    to groundwater and reverse any significant and sustained upward trend in
    the concentration
    of pollutants in groundwater
  • comply with European wide measures
    against priority and priority hazardous substances
  • achieve
    compliance with any relevant standards and objectives for protected
    areas

The £2.85 million
funding comes from savings arising in a number of areas within the portfolio
and will deliver the following capital and research projects which aim to protect
the Scottish water environment:

  • Extended groundwater monitoring network
  • Enhanced
    water resource monitoring network to help identify pressures on water
    resources
  • Digital
    map of all engineering changes to rivers will enable better assessment
    of damage to river habitats and wetlands
  • Creation of a temporary
    processing centre to enable SEPA to transfer consents to the new Controlled
    Activities
    Regulations regime
  • A web-based registration and application
    facility for water users providing a simple and efficient web-based
    means by which water
    users may register controlled activities
  • Capital equipment
    for monitoring hazardous substances

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