Paperwork and Permissions
There are three main authorities who will need to consent to allow a scheme to be built.
The ‘distribution network operator’ will need to be informed or consulted, and must agree to any work required to the national grid system. There are different categories of scheme, small systems having less complicated procedures.
The local planning authority (LPA) will need to agree, and whilst there is now guidance being issued to authorities, often hydro schemes are a little out of the ordinary, and can require additional paperwork and time to achieve permission.
The Environment Agency (EA) will need to be consulted. They issue an abstraction licence which is required to allow you to use water from the river. The allowed amount is always less than the total flow in the river. This means that any part of the river which is bypassed will have flow in it at all times during abstraction. This residual flow is defined by the licence, and is designed to allow the watercourse to remain healthy and unchanged in terms of habitat. Applications for Abstraction licenses, and the associated impoundment and land drainage consents will require a fair amount of knowledge of the river hydrology, on regulations, and of system design. It is usual for a potential developer to get assistance for this work, this being one of WRE Ltd’s key areas of expertise.
An ‘environmental appraisal’, or more formal ‘impact assessment’ may be required by either or both the EA or LPA. This has set formats and again WRE Ltd has experience of dealing with these even in the most highly protected locations.