Scotland sets water framework targets two years ahead of schedule

Scotland has set targets to classify its waterways and reduce water pollution in order to prepare for new monitoring standards being brought in during 2007 as part of the water framework directive (WFD).

The targets, agreed between the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and published in SEPA's Corporate Plan, set out that the length of poor water quality in Scotland's rivers should be reduced by 351km from 402km this year.

The objectives include significant enhancement of the chemical and biological quality of some of Scotland's poorest rivers, estuaries and coastal waters as well as progressive elimination of the number of unclassified rivers.

Implementation of SEPA's Environmental Improvement Plans and the development of more sewerage infrastructure and effluent treatment schemes has already improved the quality of Scotland's water in the past few years.

"It's very rewarding to see such significant improvements in water quality across Scotland in recent years. These real changes contrast with a historical backdrop of some pretty negative publicity on some of Scotland's waters," said Tom Leatherland, SEPA's head of environmental quality. "We're making great progress in ensuring our rivers are classified in preparation for the new legislation and this approach of more extensive monitoring has given us the opportunity to identify areas of further improvement where required."

Other initiatives such as the forest and water guidelines, new guidance on the prevention of pollution from agricultural activities, and the Scottish Executive's four point plan to minimise pollution from livestock, have also helped reduce agricultural pollution to water.

By David Hopkins




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