In anticipation of SEPA's review of abstractions, in August 2006 Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) tried to pre-empt the process by offering to restore some flow to the River Garry.
However, in exchange, SSE wish to abstract more water from the River Spey.
SSE and Alcan already abstract water from a large part of the Spey catchment upstream of Kingussie. SSE wish to reduce the flow by over 40% in the River Tromie, a tributary which enters the River Spey at the Insh Marshes near Kingussie.
In exchange, a modest flow would be restored to the River Garry. 414 litres per second from Loch Garry and 499 litres per second from Garry Intake.
However, these are still very small flows. In dry weather even the 414 litres at Loch Garry will not be maintained, and even with 499 litres per second the Garry will still appear in a state of chronic drought by the time Dalnamein is reached.
The proposals were agreed "in principle" last year with SEPA and the then Deputy Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Rhona Brankin MSP. Previously, SSE had been lobbying Scottish Ministers, urging them to "direct SEPA" not to consider any loss of renewable energy as a consequence of WFD.
SSE tried to gain the initiative by proposing to restore some flow to the River Garry, but only on the condition that no loss of electricity generation occurs.......
......so the flow in the River Tromie, a tributary of the River Spey, would be cut by over 40%.
The Tromie joins the Spey in the middle of the Insh Marshes which is both a European Special Area of Conservation, a Special Protection Area and a part of the Cairngorms National Park. Although it is already affected by abstraction, in a drought SSE's proposals would reduce the inflow to the marshes by about 1/8th.
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