River Dee near Dinnet, Aberdeenshire ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Planning and development: rivers and lochs

Scotland’s rivers and lochs are particularly sensitive to impacts arising from new development.

Development can affect rivers and lochs in a range of ways, including:

- Discharges from septic tanks can threaten the nutrient balance of lochs

- Increased sediment load from construction can impact rivers supporting sensitive species such as freshwater pearl   musselAtlantic salmon and lamprey 

- Effects on catchment management and the risk of flooding.

European sites

Planners and developers should use the advice below to properly consider the interests of some of our most important rivers and lochs:

Flood risk

Developers need to take flood risk into account before committing to a specific site or project, and planning authorities must consider the risk of flooding in preparing development plans and determining planning applications.

SEPA guidance

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) leads on water quality issues in Scotland. SEPA gives planning authorities advice on flood risk for planning purposes as well as advice on flood prevention.

Visit the SEPA website to learn about: