Section 53 – Availability of documents for public inspection
172.This section applies whenever SEPA or a lead authority must make documents available for public inspection under this Part of the Act. The Act requires a number of documents to be made available for public inspection, including flood risk assessments (section 12), local authority maps of bodies of water and schedules of clearance and repair works (sections 17 and 18), SEPA maps of artificial structures and natural features (section 19), assessments and maps about the possible contribution of alteration or restoration of natural features and characteristics (section 20), flood hazard and flood risk maps (section 25), flood risk management plans, drafts of those plans and statements relating to their preparation (sections 30 to 32), local flood risk management plans, drafts of some parts and reports in relation to those plans (sections 35 to 38). This section requires the documents to be made available free of charge and at all reasonable times and it allows SEPA or the lead authority to choose the most appropriate means and formats for encouraging inspection by members of the public. This gives them the choice to provide documents in print or electronic form or both. The arrangements put in place for making a document available for public inspection must also be publicised under section 54, unless the document concerned is a local authority map of bodies of water under section 17 or a schedule of clearance and repair works under section 18.