Water Framework Directive

The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 – more commonly known as the Controlled Activity Regulations (CAR) – and their further amendments apply regulatory controls over activities which may affect Scotland’s water environment.

This legislation arose from the European Community (EC)’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) becoming law in Scotland as the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (WEWS Act).

The regulations cover rivers, lochs, transitional waters (estuaries), coastal waters groundwater, and groundwater dependant wetlands.

The Controlled Activities Regulations cover a range of activities of interest to fisheries managers including: discharges to the water environment; diffuse pollution; water abstractions; and engineering works in inland waters.

SEPA issue authorisation, if appropriate for such activities. The type of authorisation required depends on the environmental risk of the proposed activity. There are three levels of control:

  • General Binding Rules (GBRs) provide statutory controls over certain low risk activities
  • Registration is intended to cover low risk activities which cumulatively pose a risk to the water environment
  • A licence is needed if site-specific controls are required, particularly if constraints upon the activity are to be imposed

River basin management plans are produced every six years. The plans are produced by SEPA on behalf of Scottish Government. They cover actions for all responsible authorities in Scotland. They summarise:

  • the state of the water environment;
  • pressures affecting the water environment where it is in less than good condition;
  • actions to protect and improve the water environment;
  • a summary of objectives or outcomes following implementation.

Fisheries Management Scotland seek to ensure the adequate protection of fish and fisheries through supporting our members to influence the processes set out above. Fisheries Management Scotland also influence these processes directly though our membership of the National Advisory Group, Diffuse Pollution Management Advisory Group and Fish and Fishery Advisory Group. In addition, our member DSFBs and Fishery Trusts have previously played a key role in the regional Area Advisory Groups.