50. For systems serving the equivalent of more than 15 people, the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 require the nomination of a person to take responsibility for securing compliance with the terms of the discharge licence and against whom enforcement action under the regulations can be taken. However, maintenance and refurbishment may be difficult to achieve when owners of private schemes are unwilling to take responsibility, especially when costs are high or unexpected. An increasingly fragmented system has the potential to lead to inadequate maintenance, which in turn can lead to increasing environmental damage and risks to public health, and can physically obstruct the development of strategic drainage networks.
51. There are many situations in which a private scheme may be proposed but is more likely to be the case in rural locations. There are significant advantages in new development being directed to settlements where strategic drainage networks can be developed or expanded. This is consistent with other sustainable development objectives such as supporting existing towns and villages, integrating transport and locating people close to services and jobs. The National Planning Framework states that many rural areas are capable of absorbing more people without losing their environmental quality. SPP15: Planning for Rural Development encourages provision for small-scale rural housing developments in development plans. Small-scale developments include clusters, groups of houses in close proximity to settlements, replacement housing, plots for individually designed houses and holiday homes. In rural areas private schemes can offer advantages in allowing development to take place in locations which are unlikely to be serviced by Scottish Water's network at a reasonable cost or on a reasonable timescale.
52. While the environmental and amenity impacts resulting from the drainage of individual small-scale developments in a rural area may not be a cause for concern, the proliferation of private systems may give rise to problems. The planning authority, in consultation with SEPA, will need to determine both in their development plans and when considering individual applications whether the benefits of this type of development outweigh concerns about the risks associated with more fragmented water and waste water networks. This consideration should be made in the context of the wider development priorities for a particular area, the prospects of obtaining connection to Scottish Water's network and with regard to SEPA's policy on the 'provision of waste water drainage in sewered areas'.
53. A prospective developer may propose to overcome a constraint by itself arranging for the provision of infrastructure as a temporary private measure until such time as Scottish Water makes the necessary strategic investment. In such cases a condition or legal agreement will be appropriate to ensure that such systems are designed and built to a standard to allow adoption by Scottish Water and that connection to Scottish Water's network be made at the earliest possible date.