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Scottish reservoir regulation transfers to SEPA

Responsibility for the regulation of reservoirs in Scotland has now transferred to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The safety of all existing reservoirs more than 25,000m3 capacity will now be regulated by the agency following the introduction of the Reservoirs (Scotland) Act 2011.

The Act replaces the Reservoir Act 1975 under which individual local authorities were responsible for reservoir safety and brings a number of key changes to the reservoir industry.

The transfer brings regulation under a single enforcement authority for the first time in Scotland, whilst providing a more consistent inspection regime across all reservoirs. As required by the 2011 Act, each reservoir has been assigned a risk designation of high, medium or low, according to the consequences of an uncontrolled release of water.

The transfer follows an extensive registration period and consultation in 2015 during which reservoir engineers and operators provided feedback on SEPA’s new approach to regulation.

Les Watson, SEPA’s flood risk manager, said: “The shift in regulation from local authority to SEPA has been a huge initiative and the work we start now will help to ensure a more consistent approach to managing reservoir safety across Scotland.

“These water bodies are a vital national asset, and their ability to operate safely and be maintained to a high standard are of paramount importance to our economy as well as our national wellbeing.”

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