Planning permission has been given for constructing a hydro scheme at Whalley weir for generating electricity from the River Calder. Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Planning Committee approved the application unanimously at its February meeting with the condition that the visual impact of the power house, which would be about the size of a double garage, be softened. Agreement has now been reached on this with the planning officer.
Councillors recognised that a balance has to be struck between concern for visual appearance and the need to increase renewable energy supplies to safeguard our energy security.
Councillor Ian Sayers, speaking in support of the application, said “I’ve seen these kind of hydro buildings on the continent. They look like traditional rural buildings such as barns or sheds for storing hay and logs.”
Local residents concerned about flooding can be reassured by the Environment Agency’s assessment that the scheme will have no effect on flood risk.
Another concern that has been raised is about noise. The developer has given an assurance that with current design, residents will not hear any noise from the equipment above the sound of the weir.
Electricity will be fed into the national grid. Income generated will be used to fund more local renewable energy like solar panels and ground source heat pumps for domestic properties as well as buildings such as village halls.
Construction is now expected to start in the spring of 2013. Meanwhile, the team behind the scheme, all unpaid local volunteers, will be raising funds. Whalley resident, Tim Ashworth, said “We are launching a share issue in the autumn. Now we have planning permission we will be preparing the prospectus and we’d love to hear from anyone who wants to learn more about the scheme. Indeed, we are keen to hear from anyone who would like to support the scheme with finance or in person.” More at www.whalleyhydro.co.uk.
We often discuss what should be TTCs role in social and environmental campaigning. Our stance is that we are FOR a different future as opposed to being against the current one. However, should people get together through transition and organise campaigns that way, we will support them, as long as the core members of the group agree. Here is some news about what is happening in the Northwest regarding this fracking business:
- Campaign against Climate Change - March and Rally in London for Climate Justice, 3rd December - Assemble 12 noon at Blackfriars Bridge, North end (on the slip road West into Embankment) for the Climate Justice March to Parliament. Nearest tubes Temple, St Pauls, Mansion House. //www.campaigncc.org/
- Film showing: The Lancaster anti-fracking group invites you to a night of films. There will also be info stalls, talks, Q&A sessions and more. This is a free event with good company and possibly even cake. Everybody welcome, whether you have never heard of Fracking or if you’re clued up and wanting to meet some like minded folks. 23rd January, 7.30pm, The Borough (upstairs conference room) Lancaster