Trade effluent registers for Scotland

Regulations establishing public registers of trade discharges to sewer in Scotland will enter into force on 30 June 1999. 1 Effluent sampling results will be made public for the first time, in contrast to current legal requirements in England and Wales.

The new regulations were made under section 37A of the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968, which was inserted in that Act by the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994.

From 30 June, sewerage authorities will have to maintain public registers of trade effluent consents and agreements. In addition, the results of sampling "done in pursuance of" any conditions of a consent or agreement will have to be entered on the registers. The only effluents to which this does not appear to apply is certain pre-May 1973 discharges.

Information may be excluded from the registers only if, in an authority's view, it is commercially confidential or if, in the Secretary of State's opinion, its disclosure would be contrary to the interests of national security.

Public registers of discharges to sewer have existed in England and Wales in some form since 1937. But the present legal requirement, established on water privatisation in 1989, is that only discharge consents or agreements themselves need be made public, and not the results of effluent sampling by water companies. Environmental groups have lobbied for some years for access to sampling results, and the Scottish regime may revive those demands.

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