Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Shawater Ltd (DWB 36)

  We have followed progress of this Bill and refer to the Memoranda relating to the inquiry submitted to the Environment Sub-committee dated 17 January 2001.

  The business of our consulting water engineering company includes significant work on the design and development of small commercial hydro-electric power schemes in the UK, mostly in Wales where, as a result, we have extensive dealings with the Environment Agency.

  The Memorandum submitted to the Environment Sub-committee by Severn Trent Water Limited (page 57 of the Memoranda) refers in paragraph 4.4(b) to an issue which is central to much of the work which we have to do to progress our projects, namely carrying out the R & D required by the EA in order to provide the basic ecological information which we, Severn Trent Water and many other organisations clearly believe should already be available to the EA but quite clearly from our experience is not.

  In fact we too often to our disappointment find that the EA seeks to impress upon us information which in our view has little bearing on the issues pertinent in the particular situations with which we have to deal.

  In this respect we note with interest that the Treasury is currently emphasising the extent of the shortfall in UK R & D and seeking ways for this matter to be put right. The wealth of evidence which we have necessarily had to collect about river eco-systems over many years with funding from the private sector has proved a necessary but unwelcome burden on the resources of the organisations seeking to support the Government's understandable thrust to progress the expansion of renewable energy usage in the UK.

  May we suggest that in situations such as these, joint consultation between the EA and companies such as ours regarding combined R & D funding with tax support from Government offers the best chance of securing answers to the right questions at the right time.

February 2001

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