§ Mr. Drew
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what discussions he has had recently with the Environment Agency over its policy of finding suitable mill sites for the generation of hydropower; 
(2) what role he plays in providing suitable mill sites for the generation of hydropower in co-operation with the Environment Agency. 
§ Mrs. Liddell
[holding answer 6 April 2000]: Our new policy to encourage the development of renewable energy, including new hydropower installations, was published as "New and Renewable Energy: Prospects for the 21st Century: Conclusions in Response to the Consultation" on 1 February. The Environment Agency was among the bodies consulted in the formulation of our policy.
The Government have adopted a new strategic approach to renewable energy from the regional level downwards. We intend that regional sustainable development frameworks will include regional targets for renewable energy provision, based on assessments covering all relevant renewable technologies. In turn, this will assist regional planning bodies in defining broad locations for renewable energy development and setting criteria for site selection. In dealing with applications for 34W new hydropower installations, the Environment Agency will need to balance potential wider environmental benefits against any local interest.