Application of the WFD Exemption
Tests to New Hydropower Schemes Likely to Result in Deterioration of
Background to research
The research concerns the appraisal of proposals for new hydropower
projects in Scotland in accordance with the requirements of the Water
Framework Directive (WFD). More specifically, the research responds to
Article 4.7 of the WFD, which permits authorisation of projects likely
to cause deterioration in water status if certain conditions are met.
The WFD was transposed into Scottish law by the Water Environment and Water
Services (Scotland) Act 2003, which takes full effect in
Objectives of research
The objectives of the research were to make recommendations on
processes and criteria for appraising new hydropower projects in
Scotland that comply with the WFD. The recommendations were to be based
on a review of processes and criteria in use by other countries and
international organisations involved in hydropower development.
Key findings and
This report presents recommendations for criteria and a process for
appraising new hydropower projects in Scotland in light of Article 4.7
of the WFD, in particular conditions (c) and (d) of Article 4.7. The
proposed criteria are summarised in the following table.
|| Linked to:
|| 4.7 (a)
|2 Public interest
|6 Technical feasibility
|7 Disproportionate cost
The proposed process closely follows the structure of Article 4.7 of
the WFD and establishes how the criteria above can be applied to make a
decision on an application for a new hydropower development.
This research should be seen as a stage in the development of these
criteria, and the next step will be a workshop convened by the Scottish
Environment Protection Agency and the Scottish Executive to discuss,
and if necessary amend, the criteria and the process proposed in this
paper. The workshop will specifically discuss the decision making
process summarised on p. 27 and the criteria on pages 35-39.
In addition, the workshop will specifically focus on two key questions,
which have arisen in the process of this research:
Key words: Hydropower, hydroelectric power, Water Framework Directive,
WFD, derogation, exemption test, ecological status, mitigation,
alternative means, cost-benefit analysis, appraisal.
- How it can be ensured that
the assessment does not impose unnecessary burdens on the developer, in
particular through duplication of requirements from different bodies
and uncertainty over the final decision making criteria?
- How can the alternative
means criterion be operationalised to fulfil the requirements of the
WFD while at the same time not imposing unreasonable requirements on
the developers of new hydropower?
Copies of this report are available from the Foundation, in electronic
format on CDRom at £20.00 + VAT or hard copy at £25
.00, less 20% to FWR members.
The report is available for download from the SNIFFER Website