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River Basin Districts


The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires the Scottish Government to introduce systems for managing our water environment based on RBDs. The Scottish Government has identified three RBDs in respect of Scotland's geographical coverage - Scotland RBD, Solway Tweed RBD and Northumbria RBD

Scotland RBD

Much of Scotland falls into a single RBD extending to a seaward limit of 3 nautical miles. The RBD was created via the Scotland RBD Designation Order

Solway Tweed RBD

In the cross-border Solway Tweed RBD, about 70 per cent lies within Scotland, with 30 per cent in England. This RBD was created via the Solway Tweed RBD Regulations

Scottish Ministers are required to work collaboratively with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the production of the River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) for the Solway-Tweed RBD. To this end, joint guidance has been issued to SEPA and the Environment Agency, setting out how the Scottish Government expects the agencies to work together to develop the plans. Particular emphasis is on the development of co-ordinated and practical approaches to the delivery of the WFD.

Northumbria RBD

A very small fraction of the Northumbria RBD also lies within Scotland, and SEPA must be consulted in respect of the RBMP for this area. This RBD was created via the Northumbria RBD Regulations

Transitional waters

Transitional waters are those areas of water to be found at river mouths which are partly saline in nature but are also substantially affected by freshwater flows from upstream. In 2016 Scottish Ministers published updated maps showing the limits of Scottish estuaries.