Scotland's Future As A Hydro Nation Supported
Scotland’s future as a ‘Hydro Nation’ as set out in the Water Resources (Scotland) Billhas been supported by the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.
Within its Stage 1 report, the Committee outlines its endorsement of the Scottish Government’s approach in ensuring the Hydro Nation work is closely linked with other environmental, planning and energy efficiency policy strands.
The Scottish Government’s intention is that the Bill should set a framework for making the most of Scotland’s water resource, seeking to develop and improve its management as a key part of its wider Hydro Nation policy agenda. As such, the Bill proposes legislation across a broad range of topics relating to water and sewerage services in Scotland.
Speaking as the Committee published its report, Convener Maureen Watt MSP said:
“It is in everyone’s interests that our valuable water resources and assets are both protected and utilised appropriately. The Committee agrees with the proposals set out in the Bill which seek to allow for water and sewerage services to be enhanced and improved and which have potential to bring benefits to customers. We also welcome the concept of developing the value of Scotland’s water resources, although we agree with the views of those who gave evidence to us that the definition of that value in the Bill should be amended to highlight all three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social and economic.
The report included the following conclusions:
- In developing Scotland’s water, the Committee considers that, in doing so, effort must be made to realise the potential for benefits to be passed on to customers;
- The Committee considers that the proposed regime for large-scale abstraction of water would have benefited from consultation prior to introduction of the Bill. The Committee calls on the Scottish Government to report to it on the nature of and the outcomes from its intended programme of engagement with stakeholders during Stage 2 scrutiny of the Bill.
The agreed Parliamentary timetable states that the Bill must have completed its Parliamentary scrutiny by 21 December and on this basis, a debate is anticipated during the week of 17 December.
Images available showing the Convener visiting Turret Water Treatment Works to hear about how Scottish Water has used the site to generate energy for powering the plant as well as 450 homes. The Bill includes proposals to place a duty on Scottish Water to develop the value of its assets and expertise and to promote the use of its assets for the generation of renewable energy, which the Convener saw first-hand.
Included within the Bill are specific proposals to create:
- A new duty on the Scottish Ministers to ensure the value of Scotland’s water resources is developed through the Hydro Nation programme and requires them to report to the Scottish Parliament every three years on the fulfilment of that duty.
- A new duty on Scottish Water to promote the use of its assets for the generation of renewable energy, whilst safeguarding the fulfilment of its core water and sewerage functions.
- Additional powers of entry by Scottish Water for the purpose of monitoring the quality of “raw water” (water that may be used for human consumption) and for the purpose of investigating anything that may be affecting the quality of such water.
- A new offence regarding fat, oil and grease from non-domestic properties being discharged into public sewers. Breaches of the offence would be subject to a maximum term of imprisonment of up to 12 years, and a fine of up to £40,000.
You can find out more information about stages of a bill(http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/30590.aspx) in the Scottish Parliament:
SOURCE: Scottish Parliament