They point out that other solutions to the droughts increasingly afflicting the southeast of England would be much cheaper and easier. They include digging a new reservoir near London and transporting water from wet areas much closer than Scotland, like Northumbria, the Lake District or parts of Wales.
Last week the Environment Agency warned that some areas of England were facing a severe and widespread drought this spring and summer. Seven water companies announced hosepipe bans from next month, preventing people in southern and eastern England from watering gardens, cleaning cars and filling swimming pools.
Interviewed by schoolchildren, Salmond suggested that Scotland could help alleviate the long term shortages. It would be a “great thing” if Scotland became known as the “land of clean water”, he argued.
“We are going to develop our water company so it can do things internationally,” he said. “There might well be an argument at some time for the transportation of water resources. And because it costs to transport, you would sell it on that basis as an ongoing commercial transaction.”
Scottish ministers have written to the coalition government in London offering to assist if water supplies ran low. “We have massive resources, and we are willing to help put those resources to use, to help the southeast of England solve the strategic water shortage,” said the Scottish infrastructure secretary, Alex Neil.