Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Memoranda

Memorandum by Osman Goring, Water Power Engineering (DWB 01)


  Since the NRA/EA took control of our rivers in 1989, they have insisted that water passing through a water turbine is an abstraction. In most cases, with weirs and watermills, if this water did not pass through a turbine it would go over the weir or through a control gate—not classified as an abstraction and unmeasured in volume.

  I myself and others have repeatedly asked bureaucrats, ministers and MPs to modify the law openly and visibly, acknowledging that such a use of water is not classified as an abstraction in the true sense of the word.

  Here is yet another "Water Bill" going through parliament mentioning a variety of issues—farming, water industry, industrial power generation etc but specifically avoiding the issue of HYDROPOWER—WHY???

  Hydropower is one of the true sustainable renewable uses of water helping to reduce global warming. To quote John Prescott at the Hague—"Every contribution, no matter how small, can help". 20,000 weirs and watermills in the British Isles with 600MW to 1000MW of installed capacity is significant energy.

  So obscure is the EA definition of Abstraction that different EA employees in different regions come up with different interpretations as to what is or is not abstraction.

  As long as the EA, DTI and DETR. Continue to be vague about hydropower and many other issues related to it, the public will increasingly see bureaucracy and government (central & local) as a devious regime out to take total control of the State.

  What happened to "openness", "transparency", "freedom of information and democracy"?

November 2000

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