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Rivers And Estuaries (Survey)

Volume 113: debated on Wednesday 25 March 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when the results of the 1985 survey of Scottish rivers and estuaries will be published; and if he will make a statement.

The report of the 1985 water quality survey of Scotland (Water Quality Survey of Scotland 1985, Scottish Development Department, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, Price £7·00: ISBN 0 11 493382 0) which deals with the quality of the rivers, canals and estuaries in Scotland is being published today. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library.The report demonstrates that the overall quality of Scottish waters continues to improve. More than 99 per cent. of the total length of Scottish rivers are now either unpolluted or of fairly good quality. While some local stretches of rivers show slight deterioration due to pollution from agricultural sources and from mining activity, overall 419 km are of higher quality than in 1980. Grossly polluted or poor quality rivers have reduced by 74 km.Of the major estuaries, Montrose Basin and that of the River Garnock in Ayrshire showed marked improvement in water quality.These improvements may be attributed in the main to investment by local authorities and industrialists in improved effluent treatment plant and to the efforts of the river purification boards, whose responsibilities include controlling and monitoring discharges. Overall, the progress is most encouraging.