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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason the Environment Agency is continuing to pass applications for small-scale hydro schemes while it is still in the process of gathering evidence as to the environmental impact of such schemes; and if he will make a statement.
The Environment Agency continues to consider permit applications for hydropower schemes on the basis of its Good Practice Guidelines for hydropower published in 2009. This guidance was based on best available knowledge and evidence, and provides a sound basis for ensuring that small-scale hydropower schemes are designed with measures in place to protect the local environment.
The guidance is currently under review. The Environment Agency is gathering evidence to inform this review. Until the review is complete the current guidance will be used to assess applications.