SEPA appeal over suspected illegal river works in South Lanarkshire

  27 June 2023
There have been two separate incidents of unauthorised river engineering over a distance of approximately 500 metres.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are appealing for information following two separate incidents of unauthorised river engineering at Lamington in South Lanarkshire.

The first happened in late summer last year and reportedly involved a large amount of gravel being extracted from the river Clyde at Lamington. Near the same location in April this year, work is suspected to have been carried out on gravel deposits in the Clyde without authorisation.

The incidents are not believed to be connected, but both could have serious short and long term consequences on the water environment. The works span a distance of approximately 500 metres, and the scale could have significant impacts on the river’s ecology, including fish spawning. Altering the flow of a river can also lead to flooding issues both upstream and downstream.

A SEPA spokesperson, said:

“In response to reports from concerned members of the public, we are investigating and our field work showed visible tyre tracks from large vehicles by the river.

“Regarding both incidents, the work is likely to have taken place across a number of weeks and we’re confident someone in the local area would have seen it happening. They may have noticed large diggers or other heavy machinery, but perhaps did not suspect any foul play.

“We would strongly encourage those people to get in touch so we can hold whoever is responsible to account and hopefully prevent this from happening again.”

It is an offence under The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 to carry out engineering activities without the appropriate authorisation, and any individual or business found to have done so will be subject to enforcement action. This could include a penalty of up to £40,000.

To report any suspicious activity, members of the public can contact SEPA 24 hours a day, seven days a week at or by calling 0800 80 70 60.

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