Planning permission has been granted for a micro hydro scheme on the River Don at Kelham Island in Sheffield, despite the fact that it will generate enough electricity to power just 20 homes per year, provided there is enough rainfall and the scheme is managed and operated with maximum efficiency. The scheme in Sheffield is not unique - many thousands of sites across the UK have been identified as 'suitable' for micro hydro development and they are being universally sold as a serious 'green' alternative, a key part of Britain's energy future and a lucrative 'community-based' investment that will help power the nation, paying sustainable dividends to those willing to part with their cash. This blog is a public resource designed to demonstrate the negative ecological impacts of 'low-head' or 'run-of-river' micro hydro schemes and asks why UK taxpayers are funding their development despite the fact that the evidence from the world over is that they do far more environmental damage than good.

Watch the film, 'Kelham Island Hydro', and ask whether what boils down to be a few kettles' worth of hydro-generated electricity is proportionate to the decimation of our little-understood and very fragile river ecosystems.

If you have problems viewing the film from here, please view on Vimeo or watch on Google where you can also download to your pc.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Hydro Guidelines Omnishambles

From SATA's website...

Angling and conservation groups have expressed alarm at the continued delay in properly regulating the use of hydropower turbines on English rivers despite admissions that the current guidelines for hydropower schemes were ‘not fit for purpose’ and risked long-term environmental damage to fish and other ecology.
At a meeting of on Thursday 11 July, the Environment Agency (EA) board failed to approve new Good Practice Guidelines for hydropower developments because of a lack of evidence provided by the EA executive team to support their recommendations that higher flow protection standards should be adopted. The Angling Trust, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Buglife, Fish Legal, Salmon & Trout Association and WWF have today demanded a moratorium on all new developments until the necessary evidence has been gathered to enable a decision to be taken to protect rivers from further damage.

This latest delay follows years of broken promises and delays with the process of developing the new guidelines. The meeting was expected to approve the executives’ recommendation to adopt new guidelines which would have reduced the amount of water that could be diverted from rivers into hydropower turbines. The proposed guidelines were supported by angling and fisheries NGOs who have attended more than 20 meetings to help draw them up. Their position was based on the best available evidence world-wide, including scores of scientific papers and a review of flow requirements commissioned by the Agency itself from a renowned expert in the field.

You can read the full article here.

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