SEPA advises of changes to hydropower scheme application procedure

date13 March 2015

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has taken the decision to temporarily stand down its specialist team responsible for the determination of hydropower scheme applications.

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The Hydropower Permitting Team (HPT) was initially brought together to encourage consistency and improve response times when dealing with Controlled Activity Regulations (CAR) applications for hydropower schemes, and also to manage the unusually large volume of applications which have been received over the last few years.

However, as the influx of applications has since decreased, it has been decided that for the time being CAR applications will now return to being determined by the SEPA team local to the proposed site. This will also help to support the change in demand from licensing to the post-authorisation assessment of construction and operational activity associated with the many hydropower schemes that have been authorised.

Stuart Baird, SEPA Area Manager, said:

The decision to return to the determination of hydropower scheme submissions on a local basis will not result in any reduction to the quality of service provided to applicants. The experience gained through the HPT has been firmly embedded within the local geographic teams, who will continue to receive support from the relevant specialists and scientists.

"It is important that SEPA is able to react flexibly to the demands of the industry which are now shifting more towards the construction of schemes which have been authorised. This change reflects this flexibility whilst maintaining a consistent and timely response to new applications."

Until further notice all hydropower enquiries should be directed to the appropriate local SEPA office. The hydropower email (hydro.enquiries@sepa.org.uk) will continue to be maintained so feel free to send any general questions here, as normal, and these will either be answered directly or redirected as appropriate.

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