Scotland publishes River Basin Management Plans


The ecological condition of Scotland’s water environment are set to be further protected and improved for future generations through ‘a comprehensive’ new action plan.

The River Basin Management Plans, developed and delivered collaboratively, set out a range of priority measures, including working with land managers to reduce diffuse pollution from agriculture, and supporting the passage of migratory fish such as salmon.

These plans are published every six years and are developed and delivered by the Scottish Government, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and other public bodies.

To complement these actions and ensure that rivers, beaches and urban waters are free from debris and reduce spills from sewers, Scottish Water has also published its own route map and announced plans to invest half a billion pounds in Scotland’s waste water network.

According to the Scottish Government, this combined programme of work is set to ensure that the country’s rivers, lochs, estuaries, coastal areas and groundwater can continue to supply drinking water, support fisheries, offer an essential resource for business and agriculture, and serve as a source of recreation that promotes health and wellbeing.

Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, commented on the announcement: “This year, Scotland welcomed the world to Glasgow, showcasing our stunning environment and global ambition.

“Our coasts and waters are national assets, critical to our environmental, social and economic wellbeing.

“In Scotland, we’ve got much to celebrate, with rivers, lochs, canals and burns at their best status on record and the best in the UK.

“99% of our bathing waters meeting stringent environmental standards and over 1,200 km of rivers have been made accessible to fish.  That said, we’ve got more to do.

“We recognise that people have valued their local water environment more than ever during the pandemic. Scotland’s latest River Basin Management Plan builds on progress and prioritises action to improve urban and rural waters, whilst addressing the challenges of our changing climate.

“The RBMP comes with the first in a series of three-year rolling plans SEPA has required from Scottish Water to reduce the impacts of sewage spills.

“As we’ve seen from recent successes, systemic progress requires partnerships which is why across the next period, we’ll work closely with Scottish Government, Scottish councils, Scottish Water, environment and community groups and others, regulating activities where required as together we take the next steps to deliver an even better water environment for our nation.”

The River Basin Management Plans can be found on the SEPA website.

Scottish Water’s Urban Waters Routemap is available on the company website.