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Implementation of the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009: Annual Report to the Scottish Parliament - 2010

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1. Water Policy in Scotland

The work to improve the quality of Scotland's water environment and to protect the public from the risk of flooding has important roots in EU legislation. The Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive were transposed into Scots Law in 2003 and 2009 respectively.

This report reflects the differing stages of implementation of the two Directives. The River Basin Management Plans are more mature, with the emphasis on continuing development and improvement. Work around the implementation of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act is at an earlier stage, with a more significant emphasis on developing the necessary building blocks for further work.

There are significant opportunities in the future to recognise and maximise the linkages between these two policy agendas. For instance, restoring the quality of our rivers and coastlines can help reinstate more natural run-off patterns that slow the progress of flood waters. Similarly, adopting an integrated approach to urban drainage allows us to invest in actions that can simultaneously tackle water quality, habitat and flooding problems. There is also a shared stakeholder community around many interests. This year's report recognises the principles of these linkages and highlights opportunities that will be built on in future progress reports.

2. Implementation timetable

WEWS

FRM

Date

Milestone

lead

Status

Milestone

lead

Status

2003

WFD transposed into domestic law ( WEWS Act)

SG

v

River Basin districts ( RBDs) and competent authorities identified

SG

v

2004

Initial pressures and impacts analysis produced

SG

v

Register of protected areas in each RBD established

SG

v

2006

Environmental monitoring established

SG

v

Work programme for producing the first River Basin Management Plan ( RBMP) published

SG

v

2007

Published overview of significant water management issues for general consultation

SG

v

2008

Draft RBMPs published for consultation

SG

v

2009

RBMPS finalised and published

SG

v

Transpose EC Floods Directive

SG

v

Programme of measures to meet the objectives established

SG

v

Identify units of management for district flood risk management plans and the competent authority

SG

v

2011

Issue Ministerial guidance on managing flooding in a sustainable way

SG

May

Issue Ministerial guidance on assessing impacts to society, the economy, the environment and cultural heritage

SG

Produce an assessment of flood risks across Scotland and identify areas most vulnerable to flooding

SEPA

May

2012

Programme of measures to be fully operational

SG

Publish timetable and work programme for second RBMPs

SG

2013

Repeat pressures and impacts analysis of RBDs

SG

Publish maps of flooding extents and depths and associated impacts

SEPA

Publish an assessment of where changes to land management could help reduce flood risk

SEPA

Publish a statement on steps to engage with the public and stakeholders when preparing flood risk management plans

SEPA

2014

Publish second draft RBMPs

SG

2015

End of 1st planning cycle - report on progress and publish second RBMPs with revised programme of measures

SG

Publish draft district flood risk management plan setting out objectives and measures to address flood risks across Scotland

Publish draft local flood risk management plans

Publish final district flood risk management plan

Publish final local flood risk management plans

SEPA

2016

Publish implementation plans for delivering all measures set out in local flood risk management plans

LA

2021

End of 2 nd planning cycle - report on progress and publish third RBMPs with revised programme of measures

SG

Cycle repeated and second set of plans published. Plans and assessments reviewed and published every 6 years thereafter.

2027

End of 3 rd planning cycle - achievement of environmental objectives

SG

3. EU Directives and transposition

The Water Framework Directive 2000/60/ EC ( WFD) 2000 was transposed by the Water Environment (Water Services) (Scotland) Act 2003 ( WEWS). The WEWS Act protects and improves the water environment, whilst also supporting the social and economic interests of those who depend on it. Additionally, WEWS sets out steps for implementing the river basin planning process in Scotland. It includes requirements for control regimes to regulate all activities that pose a risk to the water environment. These arrangements were introduced via the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 ( CAR).

The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act ( FRM) Act, which came into force on 16 June 2009, represents the most significant change to flooding legislation for half a century. It lays the foundations for a plan-led approach to flood management that will promote the delivery of sustainable, risk based actions to protect homes, businesses and communities across Scotland from the damaging effects of flooding. It also brought into Scots law the European Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risk Directive (2007/60/ EC), known as the Floods Directive.

SEPA has a lead role in implementing both these statutes, together with other public bodies including local authorities and Scottish Water. There are close statutory links between these pieces of legislation, with both operating on a closely synchronised implementation timetable, as demonstrated by the implementation timetable set out in Section 2. There is also a statutory requirement on SEPA to ensure consistency and coordination of its work under the WEWS and the FRM Acts.