1.1 This Report describes the work of the Fisheries Committee for the period from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005.
1.2 The Fisheries Committee is an advisory public body constituted under the Electricity Act 1989. Its statutory remit is to make recommendations to Scottish Ministers and any person engaging in, or proposing to engage in, the generation of hydro-electric power on any questions relating to the effect on fisheries or stocks of fish. The Committee may give advice or assistance on its own initiative or if requested by Scottish Ministers or by a generator or intending generator.
1.3 The Scottish Executive has notified the Committee that installations which generate electricity from tidal or wave energy fall within the meaning of the phrase "generating stations wholly or mainly driven by water" as used in the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Act 1943 and its successors and, therefore, that wave and tidal schemes are also within the Committee's remit.
1.4 The Committee also advises on the effects on fish or fisheries of the cooling water systems of thermal generating stations.
1.5 The functions of the Committee are more fully described in Appendix A.
1.6 There were two changes in the membership of the Committee during the year. Dr Gary Anderson resigned in May when he emigrated to pursue his academic career abroad, and Nick Mardall was appointed a member on 1 February. Information on members of the Committee is given in Appendix B. The Committee is listed on the Scottish Executive Website, in the "Scottish Public Body Directory" ( www.scotland.gov.uk).
1.7 In December, the Committee's secretary, Richard Gustar was succeeded by Ian Robertson.
1.8 The Government's aim of increasing the amount of electricity produced from renewable resources is expressed in the Scottish Renewables Obligation 1994 and the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) 2001 (ROS). These measures have continued to encourage increased interest in hydro-electric generation and much of the Committee's work in 2004-05 has been in relation to proposals stimulated by them. The ROS initiative has been extended to 2015.
1.9 Hydro-electric schemes with a generating capacity of more than 1 megawatt (MW) are exempt from the provisions of the Salmon (Fish Passes and Screens) (Scotland) Regulations 1994 but are subject to consent from Scottish Ministers under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989, as modified by the Electricity Act 1989 (Requirement of Consent for Hydro-electric Generating Stations) (Scotland) Order 1990. Schedule 9 of the Act provides that, before or on applying for such consent, the applicant must consult the Committee and that the Committee may make recommendations. The various new schemes greater than 1 MW scrutinised during the year are each separately covered in Chapter 2.
1.10 Hydro-electric schemes of 1 MW or less are subject to the Salmon (Fish Passes and Screens) (Scotland) Regulations 1994. Developers are not required to consult the Committee, but may do, and the Committee may give advice whether consulted or not. Such small-scale hydro schemes are covered in Chapter 3.
1.11 The Committee receives copies of Environmental Statements (ES) produced by developers under the Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2000. The Committee appreciates receipt of the information contained in Environmental Statements, and in some cases this information is sufficient for its needs. However, the Committee's own statutory process is independent of the Environmental Assessment process, and the Committee may have different information requirements and timescales. For this reason, it is important that developers consult the Committee as early as possible when planning new hydro-electric works.
1.12 Guidance on the information required by the Committee in considering new schemes is available from its Secretary. The guidance document was updated at the beginning of 2005.
1.13 The Committee continues to monitor the operation and maintenance of existing hydro-electric schemes to ensure that arrangements for fish and fisheries are satisfactory. The various existing schemes inspected during the year are each separately covered in Chapter 4.
1.14 Chapters 5 and 6 refer to wave/tidal and thermal generating stations respectively.
1.15 The Committee's liaison and contact with specified bodies is described in Chapter 7.
1.16 A list of the Committee's meetings and visits, places visited and persons met with is given at Appendix D. As matters of commercial confidence frequently arise during the Committee's meetings, they are not held in public. The Committee's Annual Reports are publicly available and are posted on the Scottish Executive Website at:
Further details about the Committee and hydro-electric power in general and its effects on fish can also be found here.
1.16 As a public body, the Committee is subject to the Freedom of Information legislation. Its Publication Scheme is available from its Secretary and is posted on the Scottish Executive website.