Scottish Power issued the following statement to Between The Lines today following a request for an explanation about why it was necessary to change river abstraction levels.

In order to meet the forthcoming requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive, Scottish Power have been working on proposals in conjunction with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and independent Ecological Consultants to identify the best outcome for the water bodies affected by their operations in the Galloway Hydros Scheme.

Independent consultants have been commissioned to look at the implications for the ecology of these water bodies in the event that certain compensation flows throughout the scheme were varied in line with guidance issued by the SEPA. There are currently a number of water bodies within the scheme that do not achieve SEPA’s criteria for Good Ecological Potential in terms of flows. Scottish Power are reviewing the potential to increase the compensation flow in a number of water bodies in the scheme to meet the required status of good ecological potential.  A number of other initiatives designed to enhance the ecology of these water bodies such as variable flow regimes that replicate more natural river flow conditions and the installation of additional fish passes , are also being considered.

A good example of how we could improve the Doon is related to compensation flows. Compensation flows currently applied to the Doon, are significantly higher than the minimum requirement that SEPA would require for good ecological potential to be achieved. We are therefore considering the feasibility of a  reduction in this baseline compensation flow to allow greater flexibility for variable flows and freshets i.e. to replicate natural conditions in the Doon and in other parts of the Hydro scheme. We continue to work closely with SEPA in preparing a specification for a suitably designed independent Environmental Impact Assessment which will include site monitoring to identify any impacts of changes in river compensation flows.

Any future proposals for amendments to compensation flows in the Galloway Hydros Scheme will be submitted to SEPA for their consideration as per licence requirements. SEPA are obliged to consult statutory consultees as part of the licence variation determination process.”

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