A Message from Teddington & Ham Hydro’s Managing Director

Say YES to the Teddington and Ham Hydro

We understand that a petition is being circulated opposing the scheme. In our view, this is misinformation and unhelpful in assisting residents to form an opinion on the scheme.

Don’t let ill-informed opinions presented as fact undermine this great scheme. Our photo shoot in April proved that large numbers of the community are in favour of our scheme: nevertheless, our opponents are desperate to get the scheme kicked into the long grass, even though they claim to support renewable energy schemes.   

Our FAQ section provides answers to all of these concerns, but we thought it worthwhile addressing each in turn.

In a nutshell

The whole purpose of the development is to generate electricity from renewable energy sources currently estimated between 1.5-1.9GWh annually – approximately equivalent to the electricity demand of 500-600 homes. The project aims to avoid CO2 emissions amounting to 1,000 tonnes per annum at the upper end. The scheme will be community owned, with 90% of free cash flow (after operating & financing costs, and provisions for capital expenditure) being allocated to interest payments for local members and the remaining 10% will be paid to the Teddington & Ham Hydro Foundation. This will “promote and develop projects in the local area which encourage sustainable development, environmental improvement and the low carbon economy, together with any activities related thereto” (extract from Company Objects registered with Companies House and Community Interest Companies Regulator).

Know the facts, not the misinformation

Environment and Ecology

In addition to the obvious benefits of carbon reduction, we have shown that the scheme will not harm the ecology in the environs and indeed the addition of a fish pass and an eel pass will significantly improve the migration of many species of aquatic life. The Environment Agency, Richmond’s Environmental Health Officer and planning committee agrees that there are no ecological grounds to refuse the scheme.

In addition, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has carried out a sustainability life cycle analysis which shows the carbon payback of the scheme as nine months.

Health & Safety

Health & Safety is paramount and has been designed in at the outset, with our scheme being an opportunity to improve the current Health & Safety provision. Currently, any river user who falls into the water and is swept beyond the existing booms would be swept over the weir, with dire consequences. Our scheme improves the river and land-based signage, the booms, and provides a carefully considered trash screen that has been designed as a further line of defence, with our scheme now offering a clear and safe escape route where none existed before. Our scheme will have negligible effect on river flows and usage patterns and significantly improves Health & Safety provision.

These measures were designed in consultation with a specifically set up consultation River Users Group which includes representatives from Tamesis Sailing Club, Lensbury Watersports Centre, Lensbury Sailing Club, The Skiff Club (Teddington) Environment Agency and The Teddington Branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

http://www.hamhydro.org/information/frequently-asked-questions/#HAS

 

This is a community scheme

With over 500 supporters on our mailing list, 242 supporters on our Facebook page and an army of people that came out for our photo shoot (https://vimeo.com/125998004), we are well supported by local, community minded people that care about the environment.

We have carried out 15-20 public meetings and critically taken on feedback from these meeting, where constraints concerning flood risk, ecology and other EA requirements allow. This resulted in the significantly improved aesthetic design of the current planning application, which has been accepted by the planning committee as providing no visual harm to the locale.

In addition to public meetings we have also specifically engaged with key stakeholders including the Lensbury Club, The Teddington Society, River users groups, Trowlock Island Residents and a host of others. Where possible, their feedback as been incorporated in to designs and further investigation.
It makes economic sense

The proposed Hydro will offer its investors a starting yield of 3.5% in the second full year of operation. This will grow in line with the profits of the scheme after deducting provisions to payback its members after 20 years and to decommission the scheme at the end of its useful life in 40-50 years. It’s worth noting that the UK is in desperate need of new power generating capacity and subsidies are being offered by the UK government for all generating technologies including fracking, nuclear and renewables. While there is a subsidy for the hydro for the first 20 years, the scheme will go on producing clean green energy for may years after all subsidies have ceased.

More information on the financial aspects of our project can be found in our Share Offer.

http://www.hamhydro.org/invest/
It has taken proper account of the flood risk
The planning committee and the Environment Agency has accepted that scheme will make a negligible impact on flood risk. Our additional flood risk modelling done in 2014 used the latest available data (see website for full document).
It has taken noise pollution properly into consideration
In April, the planning committee deferred its decision on our planning application because it wanted reassurance on the potential noise impact of the scheme. THH took this opportunity to clarify the issues around noise and tidal influences as well as our noise mitigation measures. We have shown that, even with significantly more stringent conditions than expected at the national planning level, the scheme passes with flying colours and as can be seen from the graphics below, the scheme, with mitigation measures, makes hardly any difference at all to the existing noise contours.

noise contoursnoise 2

Tidal impacts
A key area of concern revolved around tides and a number of days when back ground noise levels fell up to 15 dB below usual levels as high tide approached. The only reason for this reduction in background noise was the lack of water flowing over the weir. In these circumstances, our turbines would not turn as there would be insufficient flow and therefore no noise would be created, making the argument rather moot. Under all other circumstances, the dominant noise source remains the thunderous noise from the cascading of water over the weir. Let’s not forget that weirs are actually rather noisy!

Head Level Differences and Background Sound Levels

tidal noise

Background noise levels fall when there is high tide and no head differential for the turbines to exploit, so they won’t run. Any analysis of how our system compares to lower background noise levels is pointless!

Now or Never?

Getting planning permission for our scheme at this hearing is even more pressing now as a result of recent changes to government legislation. These changes mean that this may be the only chance for a hydro scheme to be built at Teddington. If the decision is further deferred the scheme may not be built at all. Our community will miss out on a beacon of sustainable development that will reduce carbon emissions, be an educational resource for our children and, via its charity foundation, put money back into the local community to seed other renewable energy, energy efficiency and fuel poverty schemes.

Please help to ensure the right decision is taken for OUR community.

Say YES to the Teddington and Ham Hydro

12 Responses to “A Message from Teddington & Ham Hydro’s Managing Director”

  1. Christine

    I haven’t been interested in this until now – your narrative above is appalling. You are ruining an historic and lovely sight to provide electricity for 450 – 500 homes? That really is pathetic- you aim to erect an ugly and noisy concrete construction which will ruin this part of the Thames for such a paltry gain – but possibly financial gain for you and your investors. As I say, I knew nothing about this until last week – and will campaign hard and long against you. You should be ashamed.

    Reply
    • You should be ashamed, partly of your incomprehensible writing (how can a narrative be appalling?), but mainly of your nimbyish attitude to a project which you clearly don’t understand. Keep up the good fight against renewable energy!

      Reply
  2. Mike hamblet

    I suspect anglers are the biggest obstacle. Seem to have a knee-jerk reaction to any change. You don’t mention liaising with local fishing clubs? Obviously the EA should be helping to calm anglers fears. Anglers need to understand that without carbon-saving measures the whole eco-system is under threat, including fish stocks. Good luck with the project.

    Reply
  3. People are rightfully concerned about increased risk of flooding to their homes. To dismiss the whole flood risk issue in 3 lines exhibits the utmost arrogance.

    Reply
  4. Please who was the representative of Tamesis Club who was supposedly consulted over the health and safety issues? If these are important I am sure they can be independently addressed for a minute fraction of the cost of this scheme.
    Stewart Colley, Commodore, Tamesis Club

    Reply
  5. Stephen Aras

    It seems the plan is to go ahead WHATEVER the cost to local residents – noise, flooding, loss of amenity etc. There are lots of Teddington and Ham residents FOR and AGAINST – and I’m sure those living furthest away are the most keen!! (No noise and flooding for them then!)

    The Corporate ‘Teddington & Ham Hydro’ have money to burn promoting this and profits to make once this is inflicted on those nearby. We as local residents have only our time and energy http://WWW.change.org – search ‘Ham hydro’

    Reply
    • We are not corporate and do by no means have money to burn – every penny has been raised through gifts, sponsorship of fundraising events and personal at-risk investments. We are also local residents. Read the explanations on the website of all the aspects of the scheme before criticising.

      Reply
  6. Paul Frieze

    As a member of Lensbury Club, I am well aware of the noise made when the current weir is in full flow – it is quite loud. I fully support the proposed scheme as I believe we should be doing as much as we can to exploit alternative sustainable viable energy sources. This scheme seems to fill all of these requirements. I am also a very experienced Structural Engineer.

    Reply
  7. Selena Vane

    This is a great scheme which I fully support and hope it will inspire other councils to do the some with any weirs in their borough.

    Reply
  8. Diana Wells

    I sincerely hope that the final permission for the Hydro will be given on Wednesday! For several years I have followed the progress of the proposed Hydro plan, attended many of the local meetings and read the report on noise generation. This exciting scheme deserves to go ahead!

    Reply
  9. As a local resident I strongly support the Ham Hydro project. It is an exciting and worthwhile development which will bring innovation and low carbon energy generation to the river.
    This part of the Thames is already highly developed – with the weir and the three locks to artificially control and manage tides and flood risk, it’s hardly an “unspoiled” stretch of river, so it won’t create any visual intrusion. The weir is a very noisy man-made device which will drown out any noise from the turbines generating, so any protest of noise is ridiculous.
    The CEO of the UK National Grid has stated that the future of UK electricity is locally distributed, smaller scale generation such as solar PV, wind and hydro, and that massive inflexible utility-scale power stations are outdated.
    The local council is absolutely right to give planning consent to this project and I sincerely hope construction can begin as soon as possible. The vocal minority of NIMBYS should now be ignored. I wonder if the fact that this stretch of river is located next to the Lensbury Club, which is owned by fossil-fuel giant Shell, has anything to do with the opposition?…

    Reply

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