Scottish river boards' membership changed

The Government has gone ahead with proposals mooted in 1990 to cut down the number of local authority appointees on Scotland's river purification boards (RPBs) and increase the number of Secretary of State appointees.

The changes have been implemented by a series of regulations which took effect in May.1 They were recommended by an official review of the structure and functions of the seven RPBs which reported in October 1990 (ENDS Report 189, p 31).

Since their establishment in 1975, the RPBs' membership has comprised one-third district council nominees, one-third regional council nominees, and one-third Secretary of State appointees. The number of district council representatives has in practice been determined by the number of councils in each RPBs' area, so that the boards grew in size to up to a total of 51 members.

The review concluded that such large numbers could inhibit effective decision-making, and recommended a change in the representation rules which has now been implemented. Regional and district councils will now appoint 25% apiece of each RPBs' membership.

The remaining 50% will be appointed by the Secretary of State "after consultation with such bodies as he thinks fit, to represent the interests of persons concerned with the carrying on of agriculture, fisheries or industry in the Board's area or any other interests which, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, should be represented on the Board." No specific provision is made for conservation interests to be represented.

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