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In Scotland water and waste water services are provided by 3 public Water Authorities. The majority of the population are located near the coast or estuaries and because the coastal waters have high dispersive characteristics until recently over half of Scotland's biosolids (sludge) was dumped at sea. The remainder has been recycled to agricultural land or disposed of to landfill. The Scottish Authorities have had to rise to the challenge of the European Union Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive 91/271/EEC (CEC1991) which required, to a tight timescale, the cessation of sludge dumping at sea as well as the construction of new large treatment plants which will create more biosolids.

At the same time the agricultural route which was generally considered to be the best option was coming under pressure as a result of: public perception, health scares with perceived links to biosolids, concerns of politicians including a Parliamentary Select Committee (1998) and nervousness amongst retailers, particularly supermarkets.

This paper describes the strategies which were developed by the Authorities after their formation in 1996, new ways of funding the necessary capital expenditure in a period of pressure on public expenditure and the progress of implementation of these strategies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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