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Water News - Caithness - Highland - Scotland
13 October 03
Scotland Water Quality 1999 – 2002
Throughout the north of Scotland, there are continuing improvements to the sewerage infrastructure and sewage treatment as Scottish Water continues with the investments planned by the North of Scotland Water Authority. As these are completed, they will benefit water quality, as will improvements to discharges from industry.
SEPA is also maintaining its programme of action plans, many of which are directed at problems arising from dispersed pollution sources. Much of this pollution - known as diffuse pollution - is unregulated, for example, water run-off from fields.
Other initiatives, such as promoting use of the codes of best practice for land managers (eg. the Prevention of Agricultural Pollution From Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) code, and the Forest and Water Guidelines) will help to reduce the impact of agricultural pollution further.
Equally importantly, pollution from new urban area developments is being minimised from the start by the planning and building-in of 'sustainable urban drainage systems' (SUDS). These environmentally friendly schemes use natural processes to retain and then gradually filter out pollutants from storm water. This helps to avoid the problems associated with sewer overflows and contaminated surface water run-off.
One significant achievement in 2002 was that SEPA classified an extra 3000km of rivers in the North that previously had no formal assessment of their quality. SEPA intends to ensure that all significant rivers, estuaries and coastal waters are monitored by 2006.
Some changes in class from one year to the next are inevitable, as there is a lot of natural variability in the environment. Monitoring can only ever capture a 'snapshot' of water quality and SEPA is more concerned about long-term trends.
Tom Inglis, SEPA's senior regulation manager in the North, said: "We know that there is still a lot of work to do to improve the quality of our waters. They are incredibly valuable to us for fish and other wildlife, tourism, recreation, transport, power generation, industry and many other activities.
"Our work is ongoing, but has been given fresh impetus by the EU Water Framework Directive. This directive will increasingly influence all water and water habitat improvement programmes. It will also introduce new regulatory regimes, bringing under control many activities which impact on ecological quality, but which have not previously been subject to direct regulation.
"Through our policies and actions, we aim to ensure that there is a positive future - and continued improvement - for the quality of all waters and aquatic environments."
5 September 03
The Future for Scotland's Water
7 June 2002
Progress In February 14 February 2002