Working together for Clyde water environment

Posted: Friday 17th April 2009

Protecting and enhancing the natural waters of the Clyde area is a huge task involving many organisations and communities and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is urging all those with an interest in the water environment to get involved by reading the Clyde area management plan.

They are asked to provide feedback on the plan and think about how they can help, and how they can work together with others, to achieve the plan's aims.

The EU Water Framework Directive requires member states to look at their water environments in a different way. SEPA, and its predecessor organisations, has driven major improvements in Scotland's water quality over the past few decades. Now classification covers new categories, including water quantity, ecology and changes to the natural shape of rivers and lochs. Each category is graded from high to bad, with the worst class determining the overall classification.

Scotland's environment watchdog helps to protect the country's water environment, which are vibrant places providing sources of drinking water, habitat for fauna and flora, a focus for leisure and recreation. It is also an important resource for many industries. The key to further improving our water bodies is to respond to local issues at a local level, which is why the local area management plans have been created.

The Clyde area management plan covers several river catchments, including rivers like the Endrick, Clyde, Kelvin, Ayr, Girvan, Stinchar, Irvine and the River Doon. The plan outlines the current condition of the water environment, the main pressures on it and the actions required to address them.

SEPA's Robert Kerr, Chair of the Clyde Area Advisory Group, said: "The draft Clyde plan builds on past improvements in water quality and includes new assessments, like a measure of the physical structure of the water environment and an assessment of the types of plant and animal species present. Following salmon returning to the Clyde in the 1980's, we have seen significant improvements in our water environment, which continues to be an important environmental, economic and social asset, providing habitat for plant and animal life and a space for recreation. The area plays an important role in Scotland's economy, as a large proportion of the population lives and works here. It attracts many visitors and tourists. We must therefore strike the correct balance between maintaining and improving the water environment and allowing sustainable growth of industries.

"Members of the Clyde advisory group, including Local Authorities, NFUS, Forestry, Scottish Water, Scottish Government, Coal Authority, Rivers and Fisheries Trusts and NGOs, have successfully worked together in partnership to help SEPA produce the draft Clyde area management plan. The Clyde plan is supplementary to the first draft of the River Basin Management Plan for the Scotland river basin district, which provides a summary of the condition of the water environment using a new classification system being applied across Europe.

"The plan encourages best practice and continued improvement in water quality through both regulation and voluntary actions. Existing initiatives, like the metropolitan Glasgow strategic drainage partnership will help to achieve improvements in the water environment."

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