South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport & Rural Affairs Colin Smyth has raised concerns about the possible impact of water scarcity on the River Tweed.

Last week, farmers in Fife were banned from taking water from the River Eden after it fell to a “critical” level, the second-lowest ever recorded.

A significant scarcity warning was also issued for the River Tweed – where a ban could follow.

The River Tweed Commission (RTC) has warned current water scarcity plans are inadequate to protect its fish stocks.

It is concerned at the “significant problems” being created by low water levels and high temperatures on Atlantic salmon, sea and brown trout.

The group wants a review of the system still allowing water extraction from the river by industry and agriculture.

However, speaking about the situation in Fife, the National Farmers Union Scotland has warned that banning farmers from taking water from the Eden could be “devastating” for them.

Colin Smyth said: “This is a very worrying time for all those involved, and it is a very challenging situation.

“While restrictions haven’t been imposed on the Tweed yet, water levels are extremely concerning.

“I understand the concerns of both farmers who use the water and the River Tweed Commission who are concerned with protection of fish in the river.

“While this is a very delicate situation, I would hope that some kind of compromise can be achieved if restrictions are imposed, to allow some extraction for local farms. I would urge both the Scottish Government and Sepa to consult with both the commission and the NFUS to fully understand the situation and work towards that compromise.”


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