Trent hydro-electric scheme would cause drastic flooding

Published: Wednesday, 22 July 2009

PLANS to install an hydro-electric plant at Sawley Weir on the Trent above Sawley Cut would necessitate raising it, which in turn would cause drastic flooding at Sawley Marina and the Cut.

The marina is protected by a flood lock, which in the past has been breached, as seen in the picture, causing the marina and Sawley Cut to flood. One particular flood sank five boats at Derby Motor Boat Club on Sawley Cut, and completely covered Sawley mechanised locks as seen in the following picture, with the lock out of action for quite a while and the lock keeper, Bob Dromel, driven from his home.

A spokesman for the company planning the installation confirmed:

"To install the two turbines, which would sit in concrete channels below the water, the height of the weir would be raised."

Raising the height of the weir and thus the level of the water would compound the risk of flooding. This is already being exacerbated by the current building of a flood barrier as outlined in narrowboatworld, which would concentrate flood water towards the flood lock by preventing it going across the road and back into the river lower down.

Raising the flood lock would serve no purpose, as the water cascades over the bank of the cut leading to the lock, through the concrete paving manufacturers works then across the road which is not protected under the new scheme, then into the entrance to the marina, as seen in the picture.

As boaters around this location are aware, the Trent has been in flood only too often recently, with many believing flooding is becoming much more frequent.

The Small Hydro Company is behind the plans, which are to install two turbines at the weir on the river, which would take around six months to complete.

Clive Arup, Director of the company stated there would be no risk of flooding as the the plant would be 'flood-risk neutral', but this of course refers to the village which will be protected by the Environment Agency's present £51 million scheme, but not of course to moored boats below, which will be affected by the raised height of the river.