NFU Scotland has demanded an extension to the registration process for water
abstraction, to sort out the confusion caused by the late announcement of the
final details of the licensing scheme.
The final licensing scheme details were only announced
today (31 March) and yet the deadline for initial registration
also closes today. This means that applicants who have been unable
to complete their registration because of lack of information about
licences may have no option other than to apply for a licence at
greater cost and undergo a risk assessment.
John Kinnaird, NFUS President, said:
“The consultation process on the licensing scheme has,
at times, been a complete farce. It closed on 30 December and
only today are the results being announced. This is far too late
for farmers who have been trying to register but have been unable
to do so because they have not had details of how the licensing
scheme will operate – for example should they register
irrigators or abstraction points. Having been held up in this
way they are really having salt rubbed in the wound by the announcement
today, which is too late to allow them to register and gives
them no choice other than to apply for a licence.
“The solution is clear. The registration deadline must
be extended so that the reduced fee of £134 still applies, “grandfather
rights” are still applicable and there is no requirement
for a risk assessment. Farmers must not be penalised for not
having registered because they were still waiting for details
from SEPA or the Scottish Executive.”
* Two distinct processes are involved in the Water Abstraction
- a) Firstly, applicants could have registered
their existing water abstraction activities and thus obtained
a licence. But to do so they needed details of how the licensing
scheme would operate, for example should they register irrigators
or abstraction points. The deadline for registration is today,
31 March 2006.
- b) After this deadline applicants have no option
to apply for a licence in the same way as if they were irrigating
for the first time. This licensing process involves higher
fees, the removal of “grandfather rights” and the possible
requirement for a risk assessment to be carried out.
- c) During
the consultation process, and now confirmed by Ministers, NFUS
won: 1. A reduction in the annual charge for use of an irrigator
from £2232 to £446 (summer only) or £148 (winter).
2. The ability to transfer licenses to different places for a
fee of £94. 3. Increased “banding” – the
same charge applies between 100 and 2000 cubic metres per day
usage. The earlier upper limit was only 1000 cubic metres.
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