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14 June 2012

(S4O-01132) Water Pollution

Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab): 4. To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it is taking to tackle water pollution. (S4O-01132)

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson): Scotland’s river basin management plans include a range of measures to protect Scotland’s water environment from pollution. The Scottish Government is working closely with key stakeholders on the implementation of the plans.

Claire Baker: Concerns have been expressed by constituents in Kinglassie in Fife about pollution in the Lochty Burn. Locals have worked hard to improve their local environment and to make it an attractive waterway to the village, but their efforts have been hindered by recent pollution of the burn by iron deposits, possibly from old coal mines. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency is working with the Scottish Coal Company to investigate the issue, but it has been doing so for over a year and we are no further forward. Will the minister raise those concerns with SEPA? Will he ensure that SEPA is adequately resourced and has robust strategies in place to deal with water pollution arising from Scotland’s industrial past?

Stewart Stevenson: I say briefly that I am happy to raise the issue with SEPA and to ensure that I am informed on this clearly very important but local issue. On SEPA’s resources, it has become a very effective organisation and the way in which it now discharges its responsibilities means that we probably have better coverage than we have had for many years.

Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands) (Con): Will the minister join me in welcoming Scottish Water’s best practice incentive scheme, which seeks to protect water supply quality, for example at Loch Ascog on Bute? Could that scheme be extended elsewhere?

Stewart Stevenson: I know that Scottish Water takes environmental issues extremely seriously. As Jamie McGrigor does, I very much welcome the publication of best practice, and I welcome the news about what is going on in Bute, of which he has just apprised me. I will certainly look into extension of that scheme to other parts of Scotland.

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