Hydro-electricity meeting sees lively debates

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Over 60 residents attended a lively discussion about plans for a hydro-electric facility at an historic mill.

Sustainable Bakewell has received a £5,600 grant from Climate Change East Midlands to pay for a Hydro Engineering Study.

The study will be carried out at the Victoria Mill site, off Buxton Road, to see if water power can be used to generate electricity.

The energy will be used by National Grid and will generate money for the group, which has four directors – Dan Zamoyski, Julia Zamoyski, Colin Smith and Rachel Elnaugh – and over 100 members.

The company say the income will be used for supporting energy savings, recycling and sustainable living projects in the area.

At the meeting in Bakewell town hall, concerned anglers raised fears about whether there was enough water available for hydro-electric turbines to operate.

Chairman of Sustainable Bakewell, Dan Zamoyski said that in times of very low river levels the Environment Agency would decide whether there was enough water available for hydro-electric turbines to operate; the main river bed does get priority.

He added: “Mill water power usage in Bakewell dates back to the 11th century according to the Domesday Book.

“These days we need to consider the protected species that live in the millstream, like water voles, so any use of water power would of course follow Environmental Agency (EA) guidance on habitats.

“The EA also has regulations on the amount of water that can be diverted to a millstream, so that the main river bed flow is always protected in times of low rainfall.”

Olly Paish of Derwent Hydro Ltd, which is carrying out the engineering study, stated that the four kilowatts of energy produced would provide electricity for seven to eight homes.

To find out more about the project contact info@sustainablebakewell.org.uk