Friday, 14 June 2013

Hexham River Hydro project shelved

The budget has got just too big for this ambitious project which hoped to marry up the need for a fish pass and the desire for renewable energy, by simply using the power of the River Tyne. I have long supported the work of all the huge team of volunteers who were trying to pull this off, particularly Transition Tynedale, the Hexham Community Partnership, and most of all Gillian and Bob, who genuinely have given well over a year of their lives to try and make this happen. This included winning the Energy Share competition, poor Gillian taking a morning swim in the Tyne in December for publicity, a lot of public engagement, and so much more. That it will not now go ahead for now is beyond doubt, but several points remain, as is well set out on their website:
For my part, I still believe that there remains a need to utilise the power of the rivers / tides in this country to create an energy source that is not affected by fossil fuels.
I also believe that there are good examples where a hydro project, a fish pass, and a need to maintain both the fish in the river and their smooth passage upstream do exist. On this occasion we have not been able to make it work due to lack of money, but the evidence put before me last year makes it clear that this can be done. It is important to note that at all stages the Hydro team were adamant that they did not want to disturb the fishing, and all the pleasure and tourist revenue that the Tyne generates.
The BBC has reported the story here: