River Basin Management Planning

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River basin planning is essentially about protecting and improving Scotland’s water environment in a way which balances costs and benefits to the environment, society and economy.

While Scotland’s water environment is generally in good condition, a variety of activities are putting pressure on our water environment.

By developing and delivering river basin management plans for the Scotland and the cross-border Solway Tweed river basin districts, we set out the measures required to address these pressures and meet the requirements of the European Water Framework Directive.  

Latest news

Over the next few months, SEPA will be working with a wide range of responsible bodies, industries and stakeholders to build the partnerships necessary to deliver improvements to Scotland’s water environment.

Running in parallel with this period is the publication of consultations on the second river basin plans for both the Scotland and Solway Tweed river basin districts which will be published in December 2015.

Your input to these consultations and contribution to the delivery of the second river basin plans is essential if we are to meet the challenges facing our water environment in the future.

Scottish Government updates

Implementation in Scotland of the River Basin District Standards and Status Directions.

Scottish Government has issued new Directions to SEPA to incorporate an updated package of standards for the water environment in Scotland. These cover water quality, water quantity, physical condition and ecological standards. These standards are used to underpin the classification schemes needed to assess the state of the water environment. Revised Directions (now called ‘Status Directions’) incorporating the changes needed to take account of the updated and expanded set of environmental standards have also been published.

These Directions are now in force and can be viewed using the links below:

To support Directions the Scottish Government has also published a policy statement on ‘Assessing Scotland’s water environment – use of environmental standards, condition limits and classification schemes’. This policy statement and the associated Standards and Status Directions are intended to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of our approach to the protection of the water environment.

What are the river basin management plans?

We have a successful track record of protecting and improving the water environment through planned programmes of measures to manage and reduce pressures.

The river basin planning cycle is in place to help us engage effectively, assess risks to the water environment, plan and agree actions and review progress.

A plan is produced at the start of each cycle, which summarises:

  • the state of the water environment;
  • pressures affecting the water environment where it is in less than good condition;
  • objectives for protecting and improving the water environment;
  • actions or measures for improvement or protection.

Scotland’s first river basin management plans were published in 2009. The second plans are due to be published by the end of 2015.

Contact us

For further information, please contact us.