Scottish Government consultation on implementing the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003: updating environmental standards for the water environment

03 November 2020

Article: 54/4407

The Scottish Government are seeking views on proposals for new or updated environmental standards for Scotland’s water environment, as well as updates to some of the assessment methods used for deriving such standards. In 2014, Scottish ministers directed the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to apply a range of environmental standards in protecting, improving and assessing the condition of the water environment. The Scottish Government is proposing to introduce a small number of changes to the 2014 standards and assessment methods, based on the latest scientific understanding of aquatic ecosystems, and taking account of the evidence gained from using the existing standards and environmental monitoring programmes from across the UK.

The proposed updates are: 

  • river fish statistical methodology 
  • river phytobenthos assessment method 
  • loch fish new eDNA assessment method 
  • loch morphology: bank protection assessment method 
  • introduction of spatial standards for fish barrier assessment 
  • new nitrogen standards for lochs 
  • invasive non-native species list 
  • river flow standards changes: 
    • artificially increased flows in high hydrological status waterbodies 
    • short term abstraction in good hydrological status waterbodies

The consultation is open until 11 December 2020. More information and the online consultation response form are available on the Scottish Government website