Scotland gets register of protected water areas

A further step in implementing the EU water framework Directive was taken in Scotland on 22 December with the entry into force of regulations requiring the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to set up and maintain a register of protected areas.1

The register is intended to ensure that all water users can readily obtain information about protective designations made under a variety of water and other legislation.

The register must include waters designated for protection of "economically significant" aquatic species, as nutrient sensitive areas, and for protection of wildlife habitats and species. Waters used for the abstraction of drinking water will be added to this list shortly.

The register is held on SEPA’s website as a combination of lists and maps.2

It currently lists 61 bathing waters, four nitrate vulnerable zones, seven "sensitive areas" designated under the EU Directive on urban wastewater treatment, 103 shellfish waters, 114 areas designated under the freshwater Directive, 137 Special Conservation Areas designated under the habitats Directive and 110 Special Protection Areas designated under the birds Directive.

A register for the cross-border Solway Tweed river basin district is to be prepared jointly by SEPA and the Environment Agency, while the register for the Northumbria river basin, which is mostly in England, will be prepared solely by the Environment Agency.

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