SEPA advises farmers on abstraction licences

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has advised farmers that they should apply for a licence to abstract water for irrigation before prices go up considerably.

SEPA is currently consulting on a charging scheme to recover the costs of delivering improvements in the water environment so any water pumped from rivers or underground sources will be subject to new controls.

Any farmer who abstracts more than 10 cubic metres of water a day will need to apply for an authorization.

Currently, an authorization costs £109 but will increase to £134 from the end of December to 31 March 2006.

However, from then on the proposed charges will increase to £2,944 – although only for first time applicants.

Similarly, applications for groundwater licences for sheep dipping will increase from £172 to £542 as of 1 April 2006.

SEPA says the rises are necessary to keep up with growing admin fees and to comply with the new controls under the Water Framework Directive.

Anyone wishing to participate in the consultation on the water charging scheme should contact the Scottish Executive before 31 December 2005.

David Hopkins

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