Section 15 – Sub-basin plans
66.This section provides for the preparation of sub-basin plans and will enable implementation of Article 13(5) of the Directive. Subsection (1)(a) requires SEPA to divide the river basin district into such geographical areas as it thinks fit and prepare a plan in respect of each of those areas in relation to water management within the area. Subsection (1)(b) allows SEPA as a responsible authority, if it thinks fit, to prepare a plan in relation to a particular aspect of water management within the district. Subsection (2) gives some examples of the sort of thing that a sub-basin plan under subsection (1)(b) might relate to, e.g. a particular type of body of water, a particular catchment area, a particular matter in relation to the water environment or a particular type of water use. This list of matters which sub-basin plans might deal with is sufficiently wide to accommodate both the geographic and the thematic sub-basin plans which SEPA is permitted to establish under subsection (1). The cumulative effect of these provisions is to require SEPA, as a minimum, to prepare sub-basin plans across the geographical extent of the river basin district. SEPA is also given the power to establish sub-basin plans to look at particular water management issues where it deems that these are necessary.
67.Subsection (4) provides that sub-basin plans must not be inconsistent with anything in the river basin management plan, which they supplement. Subsection (5) requires that sub-basin plans relating to water management issues in the district prepared under subsection (1)(b) should not be inconsistent with anything in the mandatory geographical sub-basin plans prepared under subsection (1)(a). Subsection (6) requires SEPA or the responsible authority to consult such of the persons referred to in section 11(6)(a) to (j) as it thinks fit about a proposed sub-basin plan, and must take into account any views expressed by those consulted.