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ScottishPower Debunks River Doon Myths

16/09/2009

Following widespread speculation about potential future plans for the River Doon, ScottishPower has published a new guide on its website outlining its intentions for the rivers serving the Galloway Hydro Scheme, which includes the Doon and the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee, as part of the European Water Framework Directive.

The document addresses some comments that have been made in recent weeks, many of which, the company stress, are not based on facts.

Frank Mitchell, Generation Director at ScottishPower, explains: "We have been extremely disappointed in some of the scaremongering comments that have been made in recent weeks, which have been based on inaccuracies and assumptions. False figures regarding water levels have been passed as fact and worst-case scenarios have been painted about the river’s ecology, without an understanding of what the EU Directive is trying to achieve.”

The guide has a question and answer section outlining the reasons behind the project and the process that is being followed.

In relation to specific inaccurate remarks, Frank Mitchell comments below:

1) ScottishPower plans to reduce levels in the River Doon ‘to a mere trickle’ in certain sections.       

Frank Mitchell: “This is categorically untrue. The project is at a very early stage and there are no firm proposals in place. We have yet to start testing water levels in the rivers and therefore we don’t recognise the figures being discussed by the campaigners. At The Doon we are looking at providing a flow that will replicate natural weather events and have no intentions of reducing the flow detrimentally.”

2) ScottishPower is re-routing water flows in order to generate more power from the Galloway Hydro scheme and consequently more profit.

Frank Mitchell: “Again, this is completely false. This project is part of the EU Water Framework Directive and the objective is to protect, improve and ensure the sustainable management of water resources to a common standard across the whole of Europe. Ultimately, the implementation of the Directive will have a net ecological benefit to all of the rivers. There will be no increase in power production at our Hydro scheme as a result and, rather than increasing profits, we will be making an investment in order to sustain the current output levels.”

3) ScottishPower’s proposals will be an ecological disaster for the River Doon, destroying salmon stocks and other marine life.

Frank Mitchell: “We firmly believe the River Doon will benefit from the introduction of variable flows. Providing a more natural and variable flow in the river will mimic the natural weather patterns more closely. It will also mean more natural upstream and downstream running of migratory fish and a higher likelihood of successful spawning in tune with fluctuating water levels and lower overall winter levels. More favourable flows for existing mussel beds will also be achieved due to potentially less buffeting and gravel/stone movement, along with the possibility of greater food supplies and favourable changes in water chemistry.”

Frank Mitchell concludes: “We plan to be fully transparent with our proposals for the rivers in the Galloway Hydro Scheme, and we will keep all interested parties fully informed as the project progresses. In fact, we have already proactively contacted Save The Doon organisers to arrange a meeting.
 
“We will make it clear that the project is still at an early stage and there is a lot more scientific testing to be carried out before we can responsibly set out our proposals and begin in-depth consultation. However, what we can say is that we are aiming to improve the ecology of the rivers in the scheme and SEPA will be closely involved in every stage of the process.”

Notes to Editors:

Media Information: Paul Ferguson, 0141 566 4515 / 07702 665 924

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