Description

Point source discharges into the marine environment

Key locations

There are point discharges along the whole of the Berwickshire and Northumberland coast

Frequency

Each point discharge operates with a frequency specific to that discharge

Potential issues

  • Non-toxic contamination in the form of organic material, input of nutrients, changes in temperature or of salinity and increased turbidity
  • Toxic contamination due to synthetic inputs such as pesticides and non-synthetic inputs such as heavy metals.
  • Physical damage caused by siltation
  • Introduction of disease and pathogens
  • Properties not connected to the main sewerage network typically discharge waste to septic tanks or other private sewage treatment systems. In some cases, septic tanks are not used/ maintained correctly and the result is that they discharge waste which is not adequately treated and contains relatively high levels of pollutants such as phosphorus.

Features of Marine Protected Areas which might be affected

  • Reefs
  • Sea caves
  • Sand and mud flats
  • Inlets and bays
  • Grey seal
  • Birds (wintering and breeding)

Legal Responsibilities or Duties (England)

A number of legal powers, duties or regulatory tools exist which are relevant to this activity and its management. These are summarised in the table below:

Legal Power, Duty or Regulatory Tool Relevant Legislation Lead Organisation
Requirement for discharge consent Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 EA
Requirement for consent to release trade effluent into a sewer Water Industry Act 1991 Northumbrian Water
Requirements for Planning Permission

 

Town and Country Planning Act 1990

 

Northumberland County Council

North Tyneside Council

Requirements for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

 

 

 

 

The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017

 

 

The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007

 

 

Northumberland County Council

North Tyneside Council

 

 

 

Marine Management Organisation

Requirement for Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)

 

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (Regulation 63) All Competent or Responsible Authorities as defined by the Regulation
Duty on Public Authorities to consider the effect of proposed activities
on MCZs before authorising them
Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Section 126) All Public Authorities

Relevant Guidance, Plans or Codes (England)

The following guidance, codes, plans or strategies are also relevant to the management of this activity:

Name Description Responsible Organisation Statutory or Non-Statutory?
The Northumbria District River Basin  Management Plan Sets out how partners and communities will work together to achieve an improved water environment for the Northumbria river basin district EA Non-Statutory
The river basin management plan for the

Solway Tweed river basin district: 2015 update

The plan provides an assessment of the condition of our water environment, and identify where efforts for protection and improvement must be targeted. EA/SEPA Non-Statutory

Details of Current Management (England)

Discharges from land are largely regulated by environmental permits and through the land-use planning process.

Discharge consents:

A permit from EA is required to discharge liquid effluent or waste water (poisonous, noxious or polluting matter, waste matter, or trade or sewage effluent) into surface waters, such as rivers, streams, estuaries, or coastal waters. This includes discharges from septic tanks. Discharges which might affect a European site are subject to Habitats Regulations assessment (HRA) before permission is granted.

Consent from Northumbrian Water is required for discharge of trade effluent into a sewer. Trade effluent is defined by the Water Industry Act 1991 as “any liquid, either with or without particles of matter in suspension in the liquid, which is wholly or partly produced in the course of any trade or industry carried on at a trade premises.”

Land Use Planning:

Construction of new pipelines or outfalls above low water will require planning permission from the Local Planning Authority (Northumberland County Council or North Tyneside Council).

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be needed for activities which fall within the scope of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 and/or The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007. Screening and scoping opinions on the need for an EIA are provided by the Local Planning Authority for the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 while the Marine Management Organisation provides scoping and screening opinions for the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007.

Habitats Regulations Assessment:

Before deciding to undertake, or give any consent, permission or other authorisation for activities which might impact on a SAC or SPA, Competent Authorities are required by law to undertake an assessment that there will be no significant impact on the features for which the site has been notified. This assessment comprises several distinct stages which are collectively described as a ‘Habitats Regulations Assessment’ (or HRA). This will include formal screening for any Likely Significant Effects (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects).

Where these effects cannot be excluded they are then assessed in more detail through an Appropriate Assessment (AA) to determine if an adverse effect on the integrity of the site can be ruled out. If an adverse effect on the site cannot be ruled out then the project can only go ahead if there are imperative reasons of over-riding public interest and if the necessary compensatory measures can be secured.

Water Quality Monitoring:

The Environment Agency monitors and reports on bathing water quality and on the ecological status of coastal waters.

Statutory Duty to consider impacts on Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs):

Public authorities have a statutory duty to consider the effect of proposed activities on MCZs before authorising them and to impose restrictions on the authorisation of activities that may have a significant risk of hindering the conservation objectives of the site.

Gaps in Management (England)

The cumulative impact of coastal developments that don't drain into the sewerage system, including individual septic tanks misconnections, is unknown. Misconnections can arise in a variety of situations and depending on ownership of pipes etc. and would have to be considered on a case by case basis. Opportunities to use existing water quality monitoring data to inform site condition may be missed at present.

Legal Responsibilities or Duties (Scotland)

A number of legal powers, duties or regulatory tools exist which are relevant to this activity and its management. These are summarised in the table below:

Legal Power, Duty or Regulatory Tool Relevant Legislation Lead Organisation
Requirement for discharge consent The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 SEPA
Requirement for consent to release trade effluent into a sewer Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968 (as amended 2002) Scottish Water
Requirements for Planning Permission:

 

Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 Scottish Borders Council
Requirements for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

 

 

The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017

The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007

Scottish Borders Council

 

 

 

Marine Scotland

Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) of impacts

 

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (Regulation 48) All Competent or Responsible Authorities as defined by the Regulation.
Biodiversity Duty on Public Bodies Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act (2004) (Section 1) Duty on all public bodies

Relevant Guidance, Plans or Codes (Scotland)

The following guidance, codes, plans or strategies are also relevant to the management of this activity:

Name Description Responsible Organisation Statutory or Non-Statutory?
The river basin management plan for the

Solway Tweed river basin district: 2015 update

The plan provides an assessment of the condition of our water environment, and identify where efforts for protection and improvement must be targeted. SEPA/EA Non-Statutory
The river basin management plan for the

Scotland river basin district: 2015–2027

The plan provides an assessment of the condition of our water environment, and identify where efforts for protection and improvement must be targeted. SEPA Non-Statutory

Details of Current Management (Scotland)

Discharges from land are largely regulated by environmental permits and through the land-use planning process.

Discharge consents:

A permit from SEPA is required to discharge liquid effluent or waste water (poisonous, noxious or polluting matter, waste matter, or trade or sewage effluent) into surface waters, such as rivers, streams, estuaries, or coastal waters. This includes discharges from septic tanks. Discharges which might affect a European site are subject to Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) before permission is granted.

Consent from Scottish Water is required for discharge of trade effluent into a sewer. Trade effluent is defined by the Water Industry Act 1991 as “any liquid, either with or without particles of matter in suspension in the liquid, which is wholly or partly produced in the course of any trade or industry carried on at a trade premises.”

Land Use Planning:

Construction of new pipelines or outfalls above low water will require planning permission from the Local Planning Authority (Scottish Borders Council). )

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be needed for activities which fall within the scope of The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 and/or The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007. Screening and scoping opinions on the need for an EIA are provided by the Local Planning Authority for the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 while the Marine Scotland provides scoping and screening opinions for The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007

Habitats Regulations Appraisal:

Before deciding to undertake, or give any consent, permission or other authorisation for activities which might impact on a SAC or SPA, Competent Authorities are required by law to undertake an assessment that there will be no significant impact on the features for which the site has been notified. This assessment comprises several distinct stages which in Scotland are collectively described as a ‘Habitats Regulations Appraisal’ (or HRA). This will include formal screening for any Likely Significant Effects (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects). Where these effects cannot be excluded they are then assessed in more detail through an Appropriate Assessment (AA) to determine if an adverse effect on the integrity of the site can be ruled out. If an adverse effect on the site cannot be ruled out then the project can only go ahead if there are imperative reasons of over-riding public interest and if the necessary compensatory measures can be secured.

The Scottish Natural Heritage website contains further details of this.

Water Quality Monitoring:

SEPA monitors and reports on bathing water quality and on the ecological status of coastal waters.

Biodiversity Duty:

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act (2004), all public bodies in Scotland are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities. This includes coastal and marine biodiversity where relevant to the functions of the public body. The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act (2011) requires public bodies in Scotland to provide a publicly available report, every three years, on the actions which they have taken to meet this biodiversity duty.

Gaps in Management (Scotland)

The cumulative impact of coastal developments that don't drain into the sewerage system, including individual septic tanks misconnections, is unknown. Misconnections can arise in a variety of situations and depending on ownership of pipes etc. and would have to be considered on a case by case basis. Opportunities to use existing water quality monitoring data to inform site condition may be missed at present.