Scottish Ministers recognise that the adequate provision of water and waste water infrastructure is essential for communities, businesses and the environment. It must not only meet existing demands and comply with water quality and environmental legislation but be sufficient to allow proposed development to proceed without unreasonable delay. Provision for water and waste water is therefore an important consideration in the delivery of public policy objectives, including those set out in development plans.
In 2005 Scottish Ministers directed Scottish Water to provide sufficient 'strategic capacity' to meet the needs of all estimated new housing developments and the domestic requirements for commercial and industrial developments. Scottish Water is required to prioritise the development of new strategic infrastructure in accordance with its quality investment programme, the spatial priorities identified in the National Planning Framework, and the development priorities identified by local authorities in their development plans. Any necessary enhancement to local infrastructure will be funded by the developer with Scottish Water making a contribution in line with its statutory duties.
Scottish Planning Policy 1 The Planning System ( SPP1) identifies the role of the planning system as being to guide the future development and use of land in the long-term public interest. Development plans therefore play a key role in identifying suitable locations for development in the context of an overall settlement strategy. Good relationships and the sharing of information between planning authorities, Scottish Water, SEPA, developers and other stakeholders is essential throughout the process. This will ensure that, as they are prepared, development plans reflect an up-to-date and accurate picture of water supply and drainage capacity and are informed by a shared understanding of how new development can be accommodated. Planning authorities should also work with Scottish Water and other stakeholders to ensure that appropriate sites for any new strategic Scottish Water assets are identified in development plans.
Pre-application discussions between the prospective developer, Scottish Water and other stakeholders should identify the best means of accommodating any proposed development. Whilst it is not necessary for the planning authority to be involved in every aspect of the provision of water and waste water infrastructure, it is important that new development takes place in a coordinated way, without detriment to water quality or the environment. Planning authorities will therefore want be satisfied, on the basis of advice given by SEPA, that proposed arrangements for water and waste water will meet the requirements of environmental legislation.
The effective interaction between the planning system, the water and waste water infrastructure regime and environmental legislation thus requires effective participation by all stakeholders to enable appropriate development to proceed.