LATEST NEWS: Turbine plan gets go-ahead

PLANS to install a hydro power turbine in Ruswarp Weir to provide up to 160 homes with electricity, as part of a £500,000 project, were provisionally approved yesterday (Thurs) afternoon.

And Whitby Gazette readers can have their say on the decision by commenting at the bottom of this page.

Esk Energy submitted an application to the Environment Agency for permission to extract a maximum of 80million cubic metres of water a year from the weir.

The voluntary agency is to install a 50kW Archimedes Screw type turbine on the south side of the River Esk next to the existing fish pass.

The North Yorkshire Moors National Park planning committee met just after the Gazette went to press and decided to approve the scheme, pending a report into potential noise hazards.

The turbines will generate 50kW of green electricity each, which would be sold via the local electricity network.

Any profits made would be put back into energy projects in North Yorkshire.

A number of residents objected, saying it will be noisy and that no-one can be sure what affect it will have on the river.

The River Esk Action Committee objected to the development, saying: "Such turbines are a relatively new concept for the production of electricity and there is too much risk and uncertainty for this scheme to go ahead.

"The Yorkshire Esk is about to become a Guinea pig in unchartered waters."

The turbine would measure just under 8m with a diameter of 2.5m with a steel kiosk constructed at the upstream end of the screw to protect the motors and hydraulics.

Seven trees would be felled as part of the process.

John and Madeline Hunt of Sneaton Lane, Ruswarp, objected on the grounds of intrusion.

They wrote: "We feel the whirring from the generator will be magnified considerably if it is covered by a steel building and would disturb our sleep as it will be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

Sneaton Parish Council, however, had no objection to the scheme and there were letters of support also.

Mr M Holliday, also of Sneaton Lane, wrote: "The main fear of local residents appears to be noise but after a short while it will become a background noise, just like the existing weir. We should all support forms of renewable energy, including that proposed in our own backyard."

Chief planning officer for the national park, Val Dilcock, has not made a recommendation for the councillors as she is waiting to update them at the meeting about concerns over potential noise issues.

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