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More hydropower to England and Wales

The UK Environment Agency has stepped up its support for the development and growth of hydropower in England and Wales with new guidance to make hydropower schemes quicker and easier to implement.

The Environment Agency says that although the two countries currently have enough hydropower to power 120,000 homes, the renewable energy technology has “significant potential to produce more.”

With a huge increase in permit applications for small scale hydropower schemes over the last five years, the UK Environment Agency says it is “keen to see the swift deployment” of hydropower to help meet the UK’s renewable energy and emissions cut targets.

The agency is issuing new guidance that will give advice to help developers comply with environmental legislation first time – to make it quicker and easier for public sector organisations, businesses, developers and homeowners to get approval for a hydropower scheme.

Tony Grayling, Head of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at the Environment Agency, says: “The Environment Agency wants to work with developers to ensure the swift deployment of sustainable renewables – but we must continue to maintain a high level of environmental protection. With this new guidance we hope to show that it is not a matter of striking a compromise between renewable energy and the natural environment. Good hydropower schemes can generate renewable energy and enhance the environment for wildlife.”

David Williams Chief Executive of the British Hydropower Association adds: “We welcome the launch of the Good Practice Guidelines introduced for clarity of purpose, consistency in approach and to speed up the licensing process for low head hydropower projects. It is the balance between preservation of the environment and the need for more renewable energy which has to be accomplished. We are all part of this process and the new guidelines should help to promote greater efficiency in the licensing process.”

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