Why tinker with nature?

With all the recent talk in the Dales about what the Dales towns have to do to improve the local economies, it seems we are forgetting what we already have: the vital natural assets that already attract visitors and shoppers to the area.

This leaves me dismayed that a local business sees fit to tinker with the idea of hydro power in Bakewell, a scheme that will divert water from an invaluable natural attraction that is on our doorstep, the River Wye.

A half mile stretch of river and water meadow above the old bridge stands to be damaged irrevocably by the upstream abstraction of a substantial amount of water to feed a turbine.

This will provide a pathetic amount of power and do the maximum amount of ecological damage to the river and millstream. The health of the river is what brings people to the area, and over the last half century with more stringent water quality levels and wildlife preservation the River Wye has become the jewel in the crown of Bakewell and the surrounding area. The natural water meadows and ecology are worth far more to the traders and local people in monetary and ‘green’ terms than any small hydro plant.

The key rule that any tinkerer should apply is to keep all the pieces so things can be rebuilt. Unfortunately the self-appointed ‘Sustainable Bakewell’ Company plan to throw away much of what has been nurtured since the town of Bakewell transformed itself into a tourist centre and using its natural features as ‘the bait’. It will ring a bell with at least one director of this company if I suggest that if the scheme appeared on Dragon’s Den I would most definitely say ‘I’m out’, and I urge everybody who’s cares about health of the area to say the same.

Stephen Barnett