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Policy Statement

BALANCING THE BENEFITS OF RENEWABLES GENERATION AND PROTECTION OF THE WATER ENVIRONMENT

Ministers recognise the valuable contribution that hydropower generation makes to Scotland's renewables targets. At the same time Ministers wish to take appropriate measures to protect Scotland's water environment from significant adverse impacts. This policy statement describes how Ministers will seek to achieve an appropriate balance between these equally important considerations.

In order to optimise the potential for hydropower generation emphasis will be placed on supporting hydropower developments which can make a significant contribution to Scotland's renewables targets whilst minimising any adverse impacts on the water environment.

Larger schemes with a generation capacity of 100 kW or more are considered to make an important contribution to renewables targets, and Ministers accept that in supporting such schemes some deterioration of the water environment may be necessary. However any deterioration must be justifiable in terms of costs and benefits, and therefore considerations such as wider social or economic benefits, or impacts on other users of the water environment, will continue to be important factors in the decision-making process.

Small schemes with a generating capacity of less than 100 kW may provide local economic benefits and, where they can be shown to have no adverse impact on the water environment, such schemes will be welcomed. At this scale of development, particular attention will need to be given to managing both individual and cumulative impacts. Generally no deterioration will be permitted, unless the proposed scheme delivers particularly significant benefits

SEPA will be developing guidance to facilitate the appropriate siting and authorisation of sub 100 kW schemes which will be available in Spring.

Scottish Government

January 2010