Priority catchments

Diffuse pollution priority catchments have been identified by SEPA as catchments failing to meet environmental standards. Fourteen priority catchments, containing some of Scotland’s most important waters (for conservation, drinking water, bathing and fishing), have been selected using a risk based approach for action in the first basin planning cycle. Work will also include the mitigation of other water environment impacts, such as morphological change, abstractions, flooding and alien species, where these are also causing waterbody downgrades.

The 14 priority catchments

SEPA has appointed dedicated priority catchment coordinators to investigate the issues each catchment faces and liaise with local land managers to implement the measures. The priority catchment work is also part of the Diffuse Pollution Management Advisory Group (DPMAG) Implementation Plan.
The priority catchments identified for this work are listed below.

Priority catchments - first cycle 
River Ayr Eye Water
River Doon River Tay
River Irvine River South Esk
River Garnock River Dee (Grampian)
North Ayrshire Coast River Ugie
Galloway Coastal River Deveron
Stewarty Coastal Buchan Coastal

Rural land use activitites are covered by the Water Environment (Diffuse Pollution) (Scotland) Regulations 2008, referred to as the Diffuse Pollution General Binding Rules (DP GBRs). All rural land users have a responsibility to ensure they are working in line with the DP GBRs. Visit our Diffuse pollution in the rural environment page for more information on the general binding rules.

Contact us

General enquiries on priority catchment work can be sent to