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Green campaigners hope to get residents behind plans to install generators in river
Environmental campaigners are calling on villagers in Saltaire to back plans for two hydro-electric power schemes near the World Heritage site.
Sustainable Saltaire has commissioned a detailed study looking into whether a hydropower generator can be built at Hirst Mill Weir in Shipley.
The generator would use a three-metre “Archimedes screw” type turbine to provide 84KW of power – enough to provide electricity to about 100 homes.
Bradford Council’s climate change unit has also commissioned a similar study at Salts Mill Weir, Saltaire, although a spokesman said the Council was still waiting for a feasibility study to be published.
Andy Brown, a director of Sustainable Saltaire, said: “The Council hopes to have a public consultation in Saltaire to ask people what they think of this.
“Sustainable Saltaire is certainly supportive of the scheme and we are hoping to promote this to get the local community’s support.”
A feasibility study for the scheme along Hirst Mill Weir was carried out in February and March by Saltaire-based JBA Consulting. The report gives a preferred option of putting it on the opposite riverbank to Hirst Mill, next to the weir, on land owned by Bradford Amateur Rowing Club.
Installation costs would total £905,000 and it would cost another £78,000 in maintenance over the next 20 years. Energy produced would be fed into the National Grid in exchange for payments of £604,846 over 20 years under the Government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme.
Any plans for turbines at either site will need to be agreed by planners at Bradford Council. The Environment Agency will also have to provide permits for installing the schemes and have told consultants that a “pass” would be needed to allow fish to swim through the weirs.
The stretch of river, which is in the Leeds Liverpool Canal conservation area, is home to protected species such as the European eel and the brook lamprey.
Mr Brown said there had been concerns about how the turbines will look, particularly in the World Heritage Site, but said the group had been working closely with Bradford Council’s World Heritage Site Officer.
A spokesman for Bradford Council confirmed it was carrying out a hydro-electric power study at Salts Mill Weir but said it could not comment further until the report is published.