Response 942656451

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About You

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

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What is your organisation?

Organisation
Innogy Renewables UK Ltd

Part 2: Policy Overview

1. Do you agree with the benefits set out here?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

Part 3: Key features of the new framework for authorisation holders.

5. If so, are the outcomes proposed the right ones?

Comments:
Missing from the framework is the need for the regulator to help facilitate development. Whilst the three outcomes are important if this is the main focus there is the risk that the Regulator will inadvertently become too precautionary, focussed on preventing harm rather than helping to promote appropriate development. SEPA’s One Plant Prosperity document clearly states that SEPA’s statutory purpose includes creation of economic success through sustainable economic growth as well as social success and we feel this message is missing from the three outcomes.

7. Do you understand the descriptions of the regulated activities in Annex 2?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

8. Do you agree that these are the right factors for SEPA to consider?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

9. Do you agree that SEPA should consult on the guidance setting out the likely tier of authorisation for particular activities?

Do you agree that SEPA should consult on the guidance setting out the likely tier of authorisation for particular activities?
We do not consider the need for consultation on guidance, as long as advice is recognised as guidance, and not hard and fast rules. A focus group including industry experts may be more appropriate in setting guidance rather than a formal consultation process.

10. Do you agree that standard rules will deliver the benefits we have set out?

Comments:
Unknown

11. Do you agree with the procedure for making standard rules?

If not, why not?
The issue with standard rules is that each site is different and rules applicable to the majority of sites may not be applicable to some sites. To give a hydro-specific example, SEPA’s guidance for sediment management limits removal to 10m upstream of the impoundment. As agreed on-site with local SEPA staff, this arrangement is unworkable at some locations so maintaining flexibility in applying guidance or rules is key.

12. Do you agree that SEPA and Scottish Ministers should have the ability to make GBRs?

Comments:
GBRs should be made by SEPA alone, as they are best placed to assess the likelihood of harm and have the experience of knowing when an activity needs or does not need further control. The Scottish Minister’s role should be limited to resolving disputes on the setting of new GBRs.

13. Do you agree that all regulated activities should have an authorised person responsible for overall compliance and that this person should be named in a permit and registration?

If not why not?
We agree. However, it should be made clearer that the authorised person can be a company, i.e. it does not need to be a named individual. In the case of a company, transferring licences due to a re-branding or company name change would be onerous and should only be necessary in the event of a change in registered company number.

14. Do you think it is proportionate to require the person in control to be the person that notifies an activity in the notification tier?

Comments:
No comment

15. Do you agree that SEPA should include more than one person as the authorised person where appropriate?

Comments:
This should be the applicant’s choice, with provision allowed for multiple names if the applicant wishes.

16. Do you have any views on how SEPA should decide if a person is in “control”?

Comments:
Developments may have funding partners not directly involved in the running of development, yet still with some control of a development. It would be overly onerous to name all funding partners and so it should be up to the applicant to decide which person, company or partner is best placed to accept responsibility for control of a permit.

19. Do you agree with the proposed application processes?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

20. Do you agree with the proposal to have a statutory determination period of four months for the majority of permit applications?

If not, what do you think the determination period should be?
Whilst a 4-month determination period (to include consultation) is welcomed, the reality is that 3rd party representations often delay the timescale and drive the requirement for extensions. As an example in the case of hydropower applications, additional environmental assessment requirements can be related to specific river flow conditions which is weather-dependent or seasonally-dependent ecological issues. The application process needs to allow for flexibility on the 4-month period or for additional agreed extensions.

21. Should the legislation make a clear distinction for applications for “non-standard” activities?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, however this should not be overly prescriptive and should allow flexibility to include new technologies.

22. What other alternative arrangements would you suggest for managing non-standard applications?

Comments:
A Processing Agreement for non-standard applications could be considered, similar to the Planning regime

23. Do you agree with the proposals for variations?

If not, why not?
The charging regime for variations is complex (either 30% or 70% of the total charge, which may only apply to the one activity being varied) and the need for advertising variations is not clear to applicants. Simplification of the requirements for variation could be made.

24. Do you agree with the proposals for transfer?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
If not, why not?
Yes – having transferred CAR licences in the past the existing process works well.

25. Do you agree with the proposals for surrender?

If not, why not?
The requirement for an applicant to surrender a licence once an activity has ceased should only be applicable if the activity has permanently ceased. Temporary cessation of an activity for up to five years should be allowed (at the permit holder’s discretion) to allow for any major refurbishment works or grid works to be planned and completed.

26. Do you agree with the proposed approach to enforcement notices set out above?

Comments:
Section 3.7.1 references a process for SEPA to secure restoration of the environment. Restoration bonds are often required by planning authorities and/or landowners where lease arrangements are in place. If SEPA are to consider restoration bonds or guarantees there is a risk of overlap with other consenting routes or agreements. We would suggest the planning permission route is better placed to deal with site decommissioning and restoration requirements rather than SEPA’s proposed framework.

27. Do you agree a notice used in the way set out in 3.7.10 to 3.7.12 is a different type of notice and should be therefore be called something different, such as an improvement notice?

Comments:
No comment

28. What benefits and drawbacks do you foresee from SEPA using enforcement notices in the way set out at 3.7.10 to 3.7.12?

Comments:
No comment

29. Do you agree we should retain suspension notices for use in circumstances where we wish to suspend an activity in order to protect the environment, but the authorised person is not being ‘enforced’ against?

Comments
Suspension notices should only be used in extreme cases, following written warnings. The suggestion that a suspension notice could be used for non-payment of a subsistence charge is wholly inappropriate. We suggest non-payment is dealt with by raising a non-compliance as part of the Compliance Assessment Scheme proposals, which in turn would affect the permit holder’s future subsistence fees.

30. Do you agree SEPA should have the power to revoke authorisations in these circumstances?

Comments:
In some circumstances there may be a good reason why an authorisation is not being used, for example delays in grid connection which can span several years. Powers to revoke permits should be subject to a test on the likelihood that the permit will be used in the future as well as whether there is a competing need for the water resource.

31. Do you agree that appeals against SEPA decisions should continue to be heard by the DPEA on behalf of Scottish Ministers?

If not, which alternative body do you think should hear such appeals and why?
We agree the current system should be maintained.

32. Do you have any views on the proposed policy principles for transitional arrangements?

Comments:
No views

33. Do you have any suggestions for how SEPA might manage the workload to implement integrated, and corporate, authorisations?

Comments:
We would suggest that organisations are given the option on whether they want to transfer current consents into a corporate licence as part of the Charging Scheme consultation, when details of the online-charging tool are made available.

Part 4: Key features of the new framework for the public

34. Do you support SEPA having more flexibility in how information is made available to the public?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

35. Do you agree that a consistent, flexible and proportionate approach to public participation should be adopted?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

36. Do you agree that the procedural arrangements for third party call-in under CAR should be extended to all regulated activities?

Comments:
No comment