Water Contamination and windfarm construction: update and what you can do about it.

Posted Category: Aarhus, Health, News, Water Contamination

The ‘Request for Action‘ was lodged with the Scottish Government and agencies in July 2015. The Request for Action document can be downloaded here 

The Scottish Government response stated that SEPA is responsible for damage to the Water Environment: “In the Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations 2009 transpose the Environmental Liability Directive, article 7 of the 2009 regulations identify SEPA as the competent authority in respect of damage to waters or land.”

Thus SEPA was instructed to ‘review’ the ‘Request for Action’.  SEPA requested the following: (page numbers are those in the Request for Action)

Q.1 Monitoring recorded as a requirement for Whitelee windfarm construction 2006-2009 (page6)
Q.2.Evidence indicating Groundwater contamination had occurred from the original windfarm on designated Drinking Protected Area (page11)
Q.3,4 and 5 Dr Connor’s statement and accompanying documents.(Pages 11 and 16)
Q.6 EAC test results for collection tank at Airtnoch Farm February 2013 (page 17)
Q.7 SPR monitoring of PWS (page 18)
Q.8 All Planning Monitoring Officer Reports
Q.9 Figure 2 (page 18)
Q.10 Monitoring Results obtained by RPS and the ecological clerk of works as reported to the PMO. (page 19)
Q.11 Monitoring Results for Airtnoch water supply, 2006 to 2013) obtained by EAC (page 19)
Q.12 Figure 3 (page 19)
Q.13 Monthly monitoring results from 02/23/05 to 02/11/07 (page 26)
Q.14 Peer Reviewed Study S. Waldron 2009 (page 27)
Q.15 S. Carroll, hydrology of Whitelee Windfarm 2015 (page 27)
Q.16 Surface, groundwater and PWS monitoring (if different from above) (page 40)
Q.17. SPR PWS monitoring results for WLWF (page 45)
Q.18. Evidence of Failure of mitigation measures at Braes of Doune windfarm

My response letter to SEPA contained all the requested evidence and more. (Evidence used in Whitelee 3 PLI is in the public domain and can be found on the DPEA Web site).

Other important points in this letter:

I restated that  it should not be forgotten that it was the Scottish Government who passed a law to industrialise pristine protected water catchment areas on Scottish Water Land and Forestry Commission Scotland Land which has enabled developers to industrialise them.

The Closing Submission by Connor/Harrison Group is emphasised as it includes late evidence produced for Whitelee 3 PLI. The Conclusion (pages 76-85) illustrates why there is an immediate need for action in the interest of public health and safety, and the evidence presented demonstrates that there has been a failure to comply with legislation, plans and policy.  Closing Submissions

Not only does SEPA breach their existing guidance under the Land Use Planning Guidance No 31 (2014) as it appears to fail to protect both the quality and quantity of PWS from effects of windfarm construction, with adverse effects being seen in groundwater dependent springs and boreholes more than 1Km from construction related excavation, but SEPA is not even following its own guidance when assessing wind farm applications – even when this is challenged by local authorities.

In particular, SEPA have failed to require developers to identify water sources and water catchment areas which provide drinking and domestic water for PWS. Extract from the letter to SEPA dated 26th October 2015 
Ironside Farrar, environmental consultants for EAC have also raised questions about the effectiveness of SEPA’s current guidance to windfarm developers as being inadequate to protect adjacent PWS .  This is now on the DPEA website re. the PWS conditions Appeal for Sneddon Law. (The DPEA link )

It is pointed out  that much of this pollution could have been avoided if SEPA had taken the correct action following the presentation of the scandal on the braes of Doune.(see high-lighted sections)

The monitoring results from Whitelee, now publicly available, were collected by SPR, SEPA, Scottish Water and academic institutions. The Department of Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) has not yet made a decision on the evidence presented by the objectors and by the Appellants, Scottish Power Renewables. This decision is not expected to be  presented to the Scottish Ministers by DPEA until the end of November.

Under the terms of the Water Framework Directive, adopted by the Scottish Government as a Member State under The Water Environment (Drinking Water Protected Areas)(Scotland) Order 2013, groundwater must reach a status of ‘good’by 22 December 2015. It should be free of listed pollutants and not to have deteriorated.

You can find the surface water classification for your local rivers and streams here (under SEPA’s website)

This directive was set up in order that the basic constitutional law principle was upheld:

“The prevention and remedying of environmental damage should be implemented through the furtherance of the “polluter pays” principle, as indicated in the Treaty and in line with the principle of sustainable development. The fundamental principle of this Directive should therefore be that an operator whose activity has caused the environmental damage or the imminent threat of such damage is to be held financially liable, in order to induce operators to adopt measures and develop practices to minimise the risks of environmental damage so that their exposure to financial liabilities is reduced.”

Why has SEPA not taken action when the Environmental Liabilities Directive has been breached?

Anyone with proof of pollution of surface or ground water has the right to Request Action. If you have evidence that your PWS has been affected by windfarm construction or that your rivers and streams have been downgraded then please get in touch. info@windsofjustice.org.uk

To watch Dr Connor’s video 

Original article: https://www.windsofjustice.org.uk/2014/08/169/

Sunday Times coverage on 8th February 2015 

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