Our natural environment and waterways are very important to the Scottish Conservatives. We must protect and preserve them.
We know the positive effect that green spaces can have, not only on the environment but also on people’s mental and physical health. This has never been so visible as during lockdown, so protecting our rivers from pollution is as important as ever.
In Scotland, the environment is devolved to the Scottish Government. That means Scottish Ministers are responsible for regulating on water quality and storm overflows. As I understand it, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) grants environmental licenses for storm overflows, within which water quality standards are enshrined. SEPA monitor and take samples from relevant watercourses to understand the impact of overflows on the environment with a particular focus on those licenses which have unsatisfactory compliance.
That said, I was concerned to read that sewage spilled directly into Scotland’s rivers, lochs and seas at least 12,000 times during 2020. And further, the number of recorded sewage spills in Scotland has increased by 40 percent over the last five years, while Scottish Water monitors just three percent of Scotland’s storm overflows.