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Scotland's Priority Catchments & What to expect from a Priority Catchment Inspection

As part of Scotland’s targeted approach to reduce pollution risk, work is underway in a number of ‘priority catchments’. The priority catchments contain some of Scotland’s most important waters for conservation, drinking water, bathing and fishing, but they are also at heightened risk from diffuse pollution pressures which will lead to poor water quality.

To find out if you are in a diffuse pollution priority catchment, please check the downloadable map below.

The rural diffuse pollution work aims to deliver the objectives outlined in the River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) for the Scotland river basin district 2015 – 2027. SEPA and other organisations are working with landowners (farmers, foresters, amenity land holders) to reduce pollution risks.

It is not just pollution; there are other pressures on waterbodies. These include; flooding, removal of water (abstraction), non-native plant species out-competing our natural riverside plants and morphological change (morphological change is about the alteration to the physical habitat of a water body: i.e. the width, depth and structure which could affect the ecological quality of the watercourse).

SEPA has appointed dedicated priority catchment coordinators to investigate the issues each catchment faces and liaise with local land managers to implement the measures through a series of farm visits, workshops and events in the identified catchments.

The videos to the right explain what farmers can expect from a diffuse pollution priority inspection from SEPA.

Priority Inspection - Part 1: An introduction

Priority Inspection - Part 2: Steading walk

Priority Inspection - Part 3: What SEPA are looking for in an arable field

Priority Inspections - Part 4: What to look out for in your livestock fields

Priority Inspections - Part5: Talking through the findings