The British Hydropower Association (BHA) represents all sectors and magnitudes of hydropower, from small to large and from run-of-river to extensive pumped storage projects.
The Inter-government Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that the emissions of greenhouse gases continue to alter the earth’s atmosphere, playing a key role in the increase and acceleration of global warming. The BHA recognises the concern on the impact of all infrastructure projects, including hydropower projects. The BHA supports the approach of the World Bank and, whilst the Association does not agree with the entire report of the World Commission on Dams, the Association concurs with and endorses the Core Values that it sets out:
• Participatory decision-making
• Sustainability, and
Sustainable development is the collective responsibility of government, business, civil society, consumers and individuals and the BHA is committed to cooperating with other stakeholders in achieving sustainability. The BHA aims to seek clear and transparent decision-making processes and believes that transparency is the best guarantee of equitable treatment for all stakeholders, along with the development of environmental, economic and socially sustainable projects.
Research of environmental issues arising from hydropower has led to the identification of viable mitigation options and provided long-term assessments of their effectiveness. Changes in project planning and the design of new developments have resulted in the avoidance of impacts, where possible, or at least a reduction in their severity.
The BHA calls for the recognition of the socio-economic benefits of hydropower schemes principally by the reduction of emissions, contribution to a cleaner and healthier home environment. The reduction in poverty and improved quality of life, the promotion of new economic activity, increased availability, reliability and quality of fresh water supplies, reduced flood risks and improved navigation are also major potential benefits. The BHA recognises that project development needs to fully address potential impacts and demonstrate the sound and equitable distribution of economic benefits, ensuring that the people directly affected share the benefits. Economic sustainability decisions should be based on a comprehensive evaluation of resources affected along with project costs and benefits.
Members of the BHA are from all areas of the UK hydropower industry. They are committed to the underlying principles of sustainable development and support the values of eco-efficiency. The BHA endorses the Sustainable Guidelines of the International Hydropower Association as a framework for good practice.