Caring for the environment

Having seen several communications about hydro-electric schemes in the press I would like to let you know about our project at Ruswarp.

As a local community group we care about the local ecology and environment ourselves. We thoroughly researched the hydro project for four years before deciding on the type and location for the turbine.

We work closely with the Environment Agency, the North York Moors National Park Authority and the local angling community with whom we have joint liaison meetings to air concerns and address issues as they arise.

We have enjoyed the support of several public meetings in Whitby and the Esk Valley when explaining the details of the project.

Analysis shows that the installation of the turbine will be good for both the community and the environment. The type of turbine we have chosen is recommended by the Environment Agency for locations such as Ruswarp and it has been proven to be fish friendly by research carried out on salmon and trout rivers. It will reduce the carbon footprint of the local community by 80 tonnes every year and enable us to support many green projects for the foreseeable future.

The turbine is an archimedes screw which turns very slowly. So slowly that fish can safely enter at the top and be gently lowered to the bottom and swim out unharmed. It will also be very quiet with the predominant sound being the water rushing down the adjacent fish pass.

An improved ‘state of the art’ fish pass, eel pass and lamprey pass will be installed, all designed by the Environment Agency, which will improve the ability for fish, lamprey and eel to traverse the weir. By taking the advice of the Environment Agency we have located the turbine adjacent to the fish pass which has the added benefit of attracting fish to the fish pass.

There is also an existing second fish pass well away from the turbine.

Our close liaison with the Environment Agency has allowed time for them to establish a research project to monitor the migratory fish movements at Ruswarp using state of the art 3-D underwater tracking. This has been under way for more than a year and will enable them to monitor changes in the migration pattern over time.

The turbine will be installed starting in April and should be generating green energy from July.

Colin Mather, Whitby Esk Energy by email