We have extensive experience and good working relationships with the planning authorities, SEPA & SNH in securing consent for construction and to negotiate changes to conditions that affect the operation of hydro schemes.
We strongly believe that proactive communication and consultation is essential when engaging with consenting authorities. We have developed good working relationships with many planning authorities within Scotland and particularly the water resources experts within SEPA. This allows us to explore the likelihood of consent or variation at an early stage, reducing the likelihood of costly studies being required for no benefit.
We know that SEPA in particular are receptive to scientific argument and have experience of a number of projects where stringent conditions on operation, such as good flow standards or hands off flow, have been lifted or eased in response to well targeted scientific evidence. This can delivery significant additional revenue with limited outlay.
We are also not afraid to push back against decisions and conditions that are imposed. This may be by reference to policy, precedents or the practical realities of what can be achieved on a construction site. We have a successful track record of amending impractical conditions and varying consents to ensure that construction costs are not unnecessarily inflated and that plant operation can be optimised.
Designations and sensitive areas
We have been involved with many projects that are within designations and other sensitive areas including National Parks, National Scenic Areas, Natura sites (SACs and SPAs), Wild Land areas and SSSIs. We have an established approach to Environmental Impact Assessment and conduct these in house with contribution from appropriate experts as required by the scope.
We consider the influence of designations as a challenge to the project and rarely a showstopper. Often the designation will affect one or two aspects of a project and rarely the principle of a hydro scheme in that location.