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Stockport and District Anglers Federation worst fears realised over River Goyt hydroelectric scheme

09.05.18

Hydroelectric scheme on River Goyt, Stockport x550px

Fish Legal has discovered that a hydroscheme on the River Goyt that has been generating electricity unlawfully since April 2017 is unlikely to face enforcement action by the Environment Agency.

A series of Freedom of Information requests, made by Fish Legal on behalf of the Stockport and District Anglers Federation, revealed that the hydroelectric scheme installed at Stringers Weir is unlawful for a number of reasons:

  • it has been operating without a valid abstraction licence;
  • the Environment Agency “noticed the company had installed the wrong turbine, which was not licensed” at a post-construction site visit;
  • the developer did not apply for a flood risk activity exemption to carry out work on the weir crest before doing so;
  • the developer did not seek permission before installing rocks, a gabion wall and an area of concrete next to the hydroscheme; and
  • carried out dredging works in the main river – removing gravel and heaping them on the bank – without prior approval.

Anglers were apprehensive about the new hydroscheme having witnessed problems with a similar scheme installed on the river Goyt at Otterspool Weir in 2012.

Stringers weir pool was particularly prized by the Stockport and District Anglers Federation for barbel. Since the dredging and installation of this hydroscheme, catches here have dropped significantly.

Despite the multiple offences committed, the Environment Agency has decided that - in line with their ‘outcome focused regulation’ - “the best outcome for the environment is for the river to restore itself”.

The Federation has been informed that the hydroscheme company will need to apply for a new abstraction licence but that offers little comfort to anglers who have seen their fishery damaged in plain sight of the regulator. This sends a worrying message to other developers attracted by the feed-in-tariff available for these types of small-scale schemes.

Contact: Fish Legal - Eastwood House | 6 Rainbow Street | Leominster | HR6 8DQ | Tel: 01568 620447

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