UK: SEPA Publishes Guidance Leaflet on River Dredging

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has published a new online leaflet “Floods, dredging and river changes” to help inform people about the regulatory issues that affect dredging works on river beds.

River bed dredging and removal of river gravels has been an important issue for land managers and plant hire companies for many years, particularly after flood events.

Under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005, or CAR regulations, SEPA has been tasked with regulating these activities to manage their impacts on the stability and flows of our rivers and watercourses.

The new leaflet is designed to help clarify what the regulations and what SEPA is or isn’t able to permit within the rules.

The leaflet includes:

frequently asked questions about rivers and dredging;

brief advice on managing rivers;

common changes in rivers and the impacts of dredging;

options for managing rivers;

who the regulations may affect.

SEPA doesn’t discount dredging and sediment management as unacceptable in all cases. Indeed, there may be overriding issues for it such as preventing flooding. When deciding whether a watercourse can and should be dredged, there are a number of things to take into consideration. Protecting homes and property is very important but dredging is not always the answer, even though it may seem like it.

Higher risk activities such as substantial dredging in larger rivers will require a licence with associated conditions, but certain low risk activities don’t.

Each application is judged individually, depending on the circumstances. It is a case of weighing up the potential benefits with the loss of habitat or river instability that would be caused. Sediment is a vital element of river and loch systems and SEPA promotes its preservation.


Source: sepa, November 26, 2010