This is a familiar sight as you cross the footbridge over the River Aire into Roberts Park - and one that I have had cause to study a bit more closely than usual recently. The local council is proposing to build a small hydro-electric turbine on this weir. They recently exhibited the initial plans (see here) and began a consultation with the local community about the idea.
|Mock photo of proposed turbine housing, from Bradford Council website|
On the minus side, I'd be concerned about the noise - a continuous rumble, I gather. The water makes a noise as it is, but that's quite different from a mechanical rumble. Several mature trees would be lost. And I don't suppose the construction work would be much fun. It seems a shame that the park would be disturbed again just when it has been made so nice and people use it a lot. I am unable to judge the overall economics of the scheme - £1.22 million to construct, to produce energy to power 100 homes... It would be good if it has some direct benefit to the local community but it won't really. It won't be Saltaire directly that gets the power or any income from it. The Council seems to be using this as a guinea-pig scheme towards its target of getting 20% of its energy from renewable means by 2020 and I'm not sure that using a World Heritage Site as a guinea-pig is entirely a good idea!
No doubt there will be plenty argued on both sides for months. I will watch the debate with interest. I wonder what Sir Titus would say?