We greatly welcome proposals to designate local authorities, Scottish Water, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission, National Park Authorities, District Salmon Fishery Boards, British Waterways and Port Authorities as designated authorities under the WEWS Act. The designation order will give these authorities important functions, which are necessary to ensure the delivery of WFD aims and objectives. Such designation is a very important step in the delivery of good ecological status and in ensuring an integrated approach to water management in Scotland.
We believe that designating responsible authorities is a positive step forward, which will deliver a wide range of benefits. However, the consequences of such designation are far-reaching and will have significant impacts on day-to-day operations of the designated authority. It is therefore essential that responsible authorities be given advice from the Scottish Executive so as to what such designation means in practice and how to best implement it. Two such measures, as mentioned in the discussion paper, are guidance and staff training. Further clarification is required with regards to interactions between the existing planning systems and river basin management plans, especially in relation to the duties of local authorities.