Water regulations

What are they for?

In 2003, an ambitious piece of European environmental legislation called the Water Framework Directive (WFD) resulted in the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (WEWS Act) becoming law in Scotland.

The WEWS Act gave Scottish ministers powers to introduce regulatory controls over water activities, in order to protect, improve and promote sustainable use of Scotland’s water environment. This includes wetlands, rivers, lochs, transitional waters (estuaries), coastal waters and groundwater.

The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011

These regulations are more commonly known as the Controlled Activity Regulations (CAR).
If you intend to carry out any activity which may affect Scotland’s water environment, you must be authorised to do so.

Discharges, disposal to land, abstractions, impoundments and engineering works are all regulated by SEPA. Use the links on the left to find out more about which regime your activity falls under, what kind of permission you need to continue operating and the charges that may apply.

A timetable of action to monitor and plan for the protection of the water environment has also been set. 

Further information