Coinciding with World Environment Day 2020, Settle Hydro has launched a new crowdfunding campaign to protect migrating fish and improve generation of clean electricity at the site, which has seen the effects of climate change reflected in the unprecedented extremes of high and low river levels this year.
The weir head on the River Ribble at Bridge End Mill in Settle has fallen into a state of disrepair over the past few years which makes it hard to manage a consistent flow of water into both the hydro turbine and the adjacent fish pass.
Fish need to travel upstream to return to their spawning grounds and use the pass to help negotiate the fast-flowing weir. The weir head was damaged during the floods of 2015 and although emergency repairs were carried out in 2018 to prevent a catastrophic failure, they were only a temporary fix pending more robust repairs. The damage has led to inconsistent flows which means fish struggle to negotiate the pass during both high and low extremes in the water level.
The Settle Hydro, an award-winning community renewable energy project which is run solely by volunteers, saw a record February for power generation earlier in the year. The subsequent low levels of the river in an unprecedentedly sunny Spring has provided a perfect window for the repair work if sufficient funds can be raised promptly. Once repaired, the weir head will ensure a more consistent flow of water to both the fish pass and the turbine – boosting wildlife and generating more clean electricity.
The Hydro team are hoping to raise £15,000 to ensure the weir head is made secure for years to come and has created a GoFundMe page on the internet to help the fundraising efforts, hoping that environmentally concerned citizens will be willing to help.
Voluntary board member, Sandy Todd, said: “It’s vital that we move away from fossil fuels to clean energy sources like Settle Hydro which can make a real difference to the local environment and our carbon footprint. This crowdfunding project will serve two environmental objectives in one, helping fish migration to encourage fish numbers and increasing the amount of clean energy we produce for local homes.”
In the long-term, as a ground-breaking co-operative initiative (an Industrial & Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community), profits from the sale of Settle Hydro electricity into the National Grid will be ploughed back into local projects.
To support the urgent weir repairs, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/repairs-to-weir-head-at-settle?utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet