Forum mulls plans for Scotland's water environment

The first meeting of the National Stakeholder Forum was held recently in Stirling to consider plans for the future of Scotland's water environment.

Nov. 6, 2003 -- The first meeting of the National Stakeholder Forum, a group which includes representatives from industry, environmental groups, and farming and community interest groups, was held recently in Stirling to consider plans for the future of Scotland's water environment.

The forum was established to provide advice to Scottish Ministers on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) which aims to protect Scotland's lochs, rivers and coastal waters.

Key issues under discussion included the development of an analysis of water quality and the factors affecting it, and an economic analysis of water use in Scotland.

Allan Wilson, Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development, said:
"The quality of Scotland's water environment affects us all, culturally, socially and economically.

"We are committed to working for a cleaner and safer environment. The way we introduce the Water Framework Directive will play a major role in this.

"The Directive requires us to protect, enhance and restore all water in the natural environment - our rivers, lochs, estuaries, coastal and under ground waters.

"We recognise too that the Water Framework Directive will have a significant impact on those who rely on water resources in their daily business.

"The National Stakeholder Forum has brought together a wide range of organisations with an interest in Scotland's water to agree how this vital piece of legislation will be implemented.

"The work of this Forum will be critical in ensuring that we develop the best regime for Scotland's water environment."

The WFD, introduced in December 2000, applies to all water in the natural environment - rivers, lochs, estuaries and coastal waters as well as water under the ground.

It aims to:
* prevent deterioration in the status of surface water and groundwater bodies
* protect, enhance and restore all bodies of surface water and groundwater with the aim of achieving good status by 2015
* prevent or limit the input of pollutants to groundwater and reverse any significant and sustained upward trend in the concentration of pollutants in groundwater
* comply with European wide measures against priority and priority hazardous substances
* achieve compliance with any relevant standards and objectives for protected areas

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