The Water Framework Directive (" WFD") introduced a comprehensive framework for protecting and improving the condition of the water environment across Europe through a process of river basin management planning. In December 2015, the second River Basin Management Plans (" RBMPs") for Scotland were published. These set out how Scotland's public bodies, businesses and land managers will work together to protect and improve the environmental quality of our rivers, lochs and seas over the period to 2027.
To facilitate delivery of the objectives set out in the RBMPs, the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations (" CAR") were introduced in 2005. These Regulations provide for controls on a range of activities likely to have an adverse effect on the water environment, including impoundments, abstractions, engineering in or near the water environment, discharges and diffuse pollution. CAR also provides protection of groundwater by controlling the discharge of certain substances to the water environment, including all pesticides.
The structure of CAR provides for 3 tiers of risk-based control, in line with better regulation principles. Activities posing the lowest environmental risk may be carried out without the need for further authorisation from SEPA, provided the activity is undertaken in accordance with the relevant general binding rules ( GBRs). Activities authorised in this way are set out in Column 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 3 to CAR, together with the relevant rules in Column 2.
As a matter of good practice we carry out regular reviews of the effectiveness and transparency of CAR, and propose routine amendments in the light of experience gained.
This consultation makes proposals regarding:
- proposed points of clarification and consolidation to the general binding rules in Schedule 3 of CAR;
- proposed new general binding rule regarding bank reinforcement;
- proposed integration of the Water Environment (Oil Storage) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 into CAR as general binding rules; and
- a number of minor general amendments to CAR in the interests of transparency.
These various matters are discussed separately in sections 4 to 9.