SEPA Launches New River Basin Management Plan for Scotland

River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) set out a framework for protecting and improving the benefits provided by the water environment across Scotland. They are published every six years and are developed and delivered by the Scottish Government, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and other public bodies.

SEPA has now published the third RBMP which aims to deliver “up to 51 new restoration projects that have the potential to improve the ecological condition of rivers in Scotland’s towns and cities.”

The updated plan focuses on several key areas, including creating healthier and more resilient communities, water supply and waste water, sustainable and resilient rural land use and management, and removing man made barriers to fish migration, setting out priority actions that will be taken to improve these areas.

CIEEM issued a detailed response during the consultation phase of the plan’s development, including recommending stronger action on invasive non-native species (INNS) and protected areas for wildlife conservation, as well as greater integration of Nature-Based Solutions. It is disappointing that these references have not been strengthened and there are no specific actions planned for INNS in the third cycle.

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said:

Since 2010 Scottish Water has worked with SEPA to upgrade 104 wastewater treatment works and 279 storm overflows, by investing £686 million. And now they plan to go even further, investing a further half a billion pounds to improve protect Scotland’s waste water network.

The River Basin Management Plans set our ambition and vision not only to protect Scotland’s waters, but also to improve and restore our water environment for the benefit of all. The comprehensive actions set out in the plans are expected to result in 81% of Scotland’s water environment being in a good condition by 2027, which is a significant improvement of 15% on current results.