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The Spey Fishery Board states the amount of water extracted to generate hydro-electricity is having a “devastating” impact on the river.
A report published today shows 90% of the water taken from the Spey comes from the top 13% of the river.
This water is then diverted to Fort William or the Tay.
The upshot, says the report, is that the natural flow in the Spey can be reduced by up to 24% at Boat o’ Brig, near Fochabers, and by up to a massive 61% at Kingussie.
Roger Knight is the director of the Spey Fishery Board’s director, which manages wild salmon and sea trout fishing in the Spey catchment area.
He says: “In the 1940s hydro-electricity was considered to be cutting-edge technology and a crucial source of power, particularly in rural parts of the Scottish Highlands.
“That technology, though, is 80 years old and such impoundments and abstractions would not be permitted under present-day environmental standards.