Wetherby hydro power scheme details to be unveiled at meeting

John Plummer Wetherby and District U3A Green Group and Jess Scrimshaw University of Leeds with Wetherby Weir in the back ground. (S)
John Plummer Wetherby and District U3A Green Group and Jess Scrimshaw University of Leeds with Wetherby Weir in the back ground. (S)

Details of a possible scheme for hydro power production at Wetherby Weir are to be unveiled next week.

A public meeting has been organised by Wetherby and District U3A which has commissioned a study into whether the historic focal point could provide cost effective energy.

“We aim, through this event, to start the ball rolling by sharing what information we have gathered and passing it on to others to make of it what they will,” said Wetherby U3A spokesman and former businessman John Plummer.

The organisation, which has 800 members in the town, is supporting a programme of presentations through its educational work, but stressed that it is not promoting the concept of hydro power on Wetherby Weir.

Mr Plummer, of Spofforth, added that the group believes that a successful hydro scheme could prove beneficial in attracting people to the town but there are issues to be addressed including location, design, potential noise and funding.

The study has been produced by Jessica Scrimshaw, a postgraduate student from the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds.

Jess said: “I am aiming to produce a report that will address the range of issues associated with hydro power projects and community-led projects more widely.

“One of the things I have discovered through my research is that it will not impact on water flow upstream or downstream too much.

“But we are also asking how much energy will it supply to the national grid.”

This is the first time that Wetherby U3A, a registered charity aimed at helping those no longer in full-time employment, has organised an open event to share their studies with the community.

And it has invited a wide range of organisations, including anglers, schools and businesses, to the event at Kirk Deighton Village Hall on Thursday July 10 at noon.

U3A Green Group Leader Eric Cowin, of Kirk Deighton, said: “We look forward to seeing a wide range of local interests represented at the event, especially from the High School.

“The hydro scheme could form a local focus to promote educational awareness of the river ecology, sustainable power, as well as promoting careers in green techology which is a key growth area of employment for the future.

“We also look forward to seeing representatives from the local business community and have invited local town centre shop manager Nish Kanabar to join the discussion panel to round off the afternoon.”

The meeting is also open to anyone who hasn’t been invited but anyone interested in attending should book a place with Eric Cowin on 01937 581470 or John Plummer on 01937 591531.