Hydro firm boss says ‘every care taken’ over Glen Etive scheme

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The boss of the company constructing a hydro scheme on the Allt Charnan burn in Glen Etive claims every care has been taken to try to ensure problems with silt do not occur.

The comments from William Dickins, of Dickins Hydro Resources, were in response to recent complaints about silt being washed into the the Allt Charnan burn.

The development is one of seven ‘run of river’ hydro schemes in Glen Etive for which  Dickins Hydro Resources received approval from Highland Council planners almost three years ago.

Two days before Christmas, the parkswatchscotland website and blog carried a report -accompanied by photographs supplied by a local resident – appearing to show the Allt Charnan burn water coloured brown.

The silt concerns were reported to both Highland Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

A photograph showing the Allt Charnan river discoloured by what is claimed to be silt. Photograph: John Sinclair. NO F02 Allt Charnan river
A photograph showing the Allt Charnan river discoloured by what is claimed to be silt. Photograph: John Sinclair.

Asked to comment last week, a SEPA spokesperson told the Lochaber Times: ‘We received a report from a member of the public on December 23 regarding silt in the Allt Charnan. Staff are investigating and we have no current concerns regarding any significant environmental damage.’

And a council spokesman added that the local authority was aware there had been an issue with regard to silt affecting the watercourse.

Contacted by the Lochaber Times for an explanation, Mr Dickins told us that his understanding of the situation was that there had been an issue with a culvert that failed, causing dirty water to mix with clean water runoff, which in turn caused silt to be washed into the Allt Charnan.

‘This was reported to SEPA for which the mitigation was to replace the culvert and improve the silt fence. Replacing this was a controlled action which would have caused a pulse of siltation during the remedial works,’ Mr Dickins told us.

‘Construction on this scheme started in spring 2020 and should be finished on this site in the next six weeks, thereafter reinstatement and restoration works will commence.

‘We have taken every care during the construction period to ensure, as far as possible, that these incidents do not occur.

‘We have had an Ecological Clerk of Works on site one or two times a week depending on the time of year. More frequent visits during periods of bad weather.

‘In general during construction, this site has performed well with minimal incidents.  Where any such incidents did occur they were reported and mitigated in a timely fashion.

‘We would obviously prefer to have no such siltation issues on site. We feel that, in conjunction with our site contractor, we have worked hard to minimise the potential for any such siltation incidents to occur.’