The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has condemned the performance of distilleries and golf courses across the country as “poor” because they have broken the rules by taking more water than permitted. Farmers and other businesses have also come under fire.
Sepa has further criticised more than 200 operators for failing to say how much water they used. They include more farmers, golf courses and distilleries, as well as Edinburgh Zoo, Scone Palace in Perth and the US property tycoon, Donald Trump.
Sepa regulates the removal of water from streams, rivers, lochs and the ground to protect wildlife, limit pollution and ensure that the precious natural resource is fairly shared. It will take legal enforcement action against businesses that persistently fail to comply, it warns.
When Sepa published its 2013 assessments of the environmental performances of Scottish businesses last November, it kept the names and ratings of 961 water operations secret “for reasons of national security”. But it has now released a list of the assessments to the Sunday Herald in response to a request under freedom of information law.