Harness the power of the Nidd for the community

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Plans to harness the power of the River Nidd for the community were unveiled at Knaresborough’s annual town meeting this week.

Powerstream Knaresborough unveiled proposals for an Archimedes Screw close to Conyngham Hall, which it says could create £15,000 of community funds each year.

Neil McLaughlin, of Powerstream Knaresborough, which is an offshoot from voluntary group Renaissance Knaresborough, told residents and councillors it would turn Knaresborough into a ‘resilient and resourceful town.’

The voluntary group hopes to raise half a million pounds to build an Archimedes Screw at Horse Shoe Field in Knaresborough next to the wooden footbridge, generating 264MWh per year.

Mr McLaughlin said: “This is enough to power 70 homes and save 151 tonnes of CO2 per year.” Using the Government’s ‘feed-in tariff’ rates, Powerstream Knaresborough estimates that £15,000 could be generated each year.

“We could make things happen in Knaresborough for Knaresborough without having to wait for other people to give the okay,” said Mr McLaughlin.

David Kaye, of Knaresborough Civic Society, said he thought the proposals were a great idea. “The river flows through Knaresborough anyway, why not make use of it for renewable energy?” he said.

Coun Phil Ireland (Con, Knaresborough King James) said: “It is a very good idea, these things are less intrusive than turbines and have minimal noise pollution.

“It is an excellent way to get money generated to come back to the community.”

Coun Christine Willoughby (Lib Dem, Knaresborough East) said the plan was ‘just what the town needs’.

“There have always been mills on the river serving the town, and this is just an extension of that,” she added.

Liz Baxendale, from Renaissance Knaresborough, admitted the plans were still in the very early stages and that the group would need to spend an estimated £500,000 building the water turbine.

The group needs backing from Knaresborough residents before it asks Harrogate Borough Council for planning permission and the right to use council property.

They are also looking for more volunteers: email powerstreamknaresborough@gmail.com for details.

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