Hydro Scheme Shrewsbury Weir

The below are SAF representations made for the planning meeting that has now taken place and SAF concerns recorded and being worked on:

As Chairman of the SAF, managing agent for Shrewsbury Council and Shropshire Council for Council owned waters portfolio of river and pool. I feel duty bound to write on behalf of local anglers and SAF permit holders. It is without question the anglers are part of the local community and indeed have vested interest in any matter relating to the river in general. Thus I must include the value to the town in general of the touring angler as in “tourism income generation and general tourism economy”.

Having taken the time to read and consider some dozen or more consultative reports on the feasibility of Hydro Power at the Weir in Shrewsbury. I am left with questions, observations and concerns that I feel will neither serve the town and immediate population as intended. Further and most importantly may well create irreversible ecological issues that have not been addressed fully and in mitigation feel the need to enter these concerns onto the public planning platform.

    • 1. No assessment or notice of temporary fish pass whilst under construction has been undertaken or reported. Although referred to in mitigation that the “old fish pass” would be utilised during this period. No consultative evidence is offered of the ability of this old fish pass as in cost of regeneration or most importantly functionality of the pass for temporary usage.
    • 2. No reference to the displacement of the Otter Holt which has existed for the last two years, has been addressed. Although stated otherwise in various publications, our mitigation is based upon eye witness accounts of such activity. This set is less than twenty five yards from the mouth of the existing Underdale side fish pass; it is my understanding legislation prohibits such interference.
    • 3. Weir Pool flow will be altered and render Weir Pool Sydney Avenue side to reduced function in regard to salmon fishing with financial implications to SAF and council alike. This mitigation is supported by the APEM consultative and other reports similar in nature.
    • 4. Local resident share capital minimum needed 1.3 million to 2.3 million required. Commercial share capital should not be entertained. Neither should share capital funding be attained beyond the confines of the Shrewsbury Borough as the project is intended and implied as a community enterprise.
    • 5. As we know Weir flow will be side tracked into hydro unit, the ecological fall out will be immense. Sweden has had Hydro Power for 40 years and due to the ecological disaster, now spending a fortune removing all and any such units. The Weir in function is already in “in-balance” highlighted in the APEM report demonstrating a high proportion of flow deep into the Sydney Avenue elevation, even at a Q50 flow clearly demonstrated. To reduce functionality flow further to the turbine will render little or no water flow on the Weir crest from centre point to the Underdale side.
      The net result will be again as demonstrated in various reports in the public domain, render the Weir toe and flow to be severely reduced in oxygen generation. Thus damaging to the immediate ecology and damaging the prospect of fish be-it migratory salmon or coarse from holding in the Weir Pool. The net result will be in “summer level” extreme low water conditions, fish stocks will not have the previously availed haven to hold in the Weir Pool. Attempting to obtain extra oxygen that has been depleted due to water level and water temperature, very much a requirement in late summer for the purpose of spawning recovery.
      I further the above also in that the reduced river flow over the Weir will allow the damaging effect of further silting of this section of river. Damaging from the point of view of “river flood prevention measures” and most importantly as again demonstrated in the APEM report and others, the immediate foundation of the Sydney Avenue catchment is that of stone, pebble and gravel. Without question a prime spawning ground for all coarse fish and holding water for migratory species. River flow in this section as a whole will be that of reduced oxygen level, silting of gravels due to altered flow pattern, creating new bank erosion sites along the immediate river bank.
    • 6. No assessment of the effect and consequence of the Electricity feasibility study already processed for completion. Or for that matter how both entities Shrewsbury Hydro and the Electricity Grid Power achieve completion on the same site, working on the same underground levels. In effect working at cross purposes in the immediate vicinity of the Underdale end of the Weir.
      • 6a. Driving two horizontal bore holes under the Weir at 30 feet below from the Underdale side terminating in the meadow of Dorset Farm. Prior to the replacement of the Castle Walk Bridge and buttresses, this bridge carrying the whole electricity supply for Castlefields and beyond. The bridge being replaced will not carry the previous electricity supply as the new under weir option will replace the Castle Walk bridge utilisation by the electricity company.
      • 6b. The above 6a will run through the middle of the proposed Hydro scheme.
    • 7. Taking into account of points 6 and 6a no study has been availed of the effect of the two projects taking place and the magnetic fields created in the excess. On this it cannot be argued this excess will exist and study of affect upon immediate local residents and also ecology, wild life and fish movement.
  • 8. No discussion in mitigation has taken place in matters such as:

In flood conditions the river flow at the tow of the Weir will be altered to the point of being opposite to previous. No details are availed as what the Hydro scheme offers in bank erosion on the left bank downstream of the Weir. Will the Hydro scheme operatives if planning is given reinforce / rebuild / replace the existing fisherman’s walk to the beach downstream. Due to the change in river flow and the Highways Department controlled embankment between the river and roadway of Sydney Avenue, will undoubtedly come under increased pressure of further levels of erosion. On this matter further reports should be generated.