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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-12226

  • Asked by: Mark Ruskell, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Green Party
  • Date lodged: 18 November 2022
  • Current status: Answered by Mairi McAllan on 30 November 2022


To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the action it is taking to protect freshwater habitats from diffuse agricultural pollution.


The Scottish Government is committed to protecting freshwater habitats from diffuse agricultural pollution.

Responsibility for regulation of agricultural diffuse pollution lies with SEPA. Since 2009, through River Basin Management Planning SEPA has identified 57 priority catchment areas where additional intervention is needed to tackle agricultural pollution.

This priority catchment approach, involving catchment-based farm visits, has been successful in building a strong working relationship between the agricultural sectors and SEPA. To date, SEPA has completed over 6000 initial farm visits and 3500 revisits to non-compliant operators in 38 of these priority catchments with six now regarded by SEPA as reaching full compliance. SEPA will continue to complete ongoing diffuse pollution compliance work in the other 32 catchments by 2027.

Phased work in the remaining 19 priority catchments began in October with initial visits by SEPA in two new catchments – Wick and Thurso - and as of 1 November initial farm visits have commenced in the River Leven catchment.