Finance Committee - Water Resources (Scotland) Bill

05 Oct 2012

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is the industry's representative body, with a remit to protect and promote Scotch Whisky worldwide. Its member companies, Scotch Whisky distillers, blenders and bottlers, account for over 90% of the industry.

Scotch Whisky is Scotland's leading single product export. Annual shipments in excess of £4.2bn in customs value represent almost 80% of Scotland's and 25% of the UK's food and drink exports.  Around 35,000 people are directly employed or supported by the industry and exports contribute over £134 per second to the UK balance of trade.

As an industry, we have been committed to a far reaching and ambitious environmental strategy since 2009 and have invested over £160 million at five sites alone since 2008 in environmental measures to secure and improve Scotch Whisky's environmental sustainability.

Our high quality reputation and branding are inextricably linked to Scotland's quality water environment.  The majority of water used at distilleries is for cooling purposes and is therefore borrowed and returned to the water environment unchanged.

The Association is delighted to have the opportunity to respond to the Finance Committee's consultation on the Water Resources (Scotland) Bill. We have provided answers to only some of the questions posed by the Committee but wish to ensure that the final legislation does not undermine the existing arrangements regarding private water abstraction on which businesses have built and sustained success.