I am pleased to present this eighth report to Parliament on our progress in implementing the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 and the second in respect of Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 ( FRM). This year, for the first time, we have produced a joint report covering our progress on river basin management planning and flood risk management.
These distinctive policies are at differing stages of maturity and development. However, the joining of these reports highlights the close interaction of these policy areas and our commitment to build upon and strengthen these links. These connections will increasingly be demonstrated in future reports.
Scotland can be justly proud of having some of the best water quality in Europe in its rivers, lochs and seas, and it is vitally important that these valuable natural resources are protected to benefit future generations in the years to come. In 2010, we continued to refine our risk-based planning process for managing pressures on our water environment, using the environmental objectives and delivery measures of the River Basin Management Plans ( RBMPs). These plans have enabled us to make steady progress towards our aim of developing a sustainable water environment, whilst enabling both our economy and our wildlife to prosper and flourish. This year we also made significant changes to the existing Controlled Activities Regulations ( CAR), improving their transparency and effectiveness.
Flooding is a world wide occurrence and Scotland has experienced its share of flooding events in recent years with communities and businesses suffering the misery, chaos and disruption such events bring. This includes the community in my own constituency of Perth. The FRM Act is the most significant change to flooding legislation in half a century, which aims to manage flooding in Scotland more sustainably. It moves towards a more natural, proactive and catchment-based approach rather than the more conventional methods used in the past. Some important milestones have been achieved since my first report on flood risk management last year, and this report reflects the evidence of good partnership working towards the implementation of the FRM Act during the year by Scottish public bodies and other interested stakeholders.
These important steps further develop our integrated approach to water management in a pragmatic, proportionate and cost-effective way. This will help agencies, local authorities, businesses, land managers and the public to work together, delivering a sustainable and healthy future for Scotland's water environment and protecting Scottish communities from the risk of flooding.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change