River Trent power plans put on hold as anglers' group win legal challenge
PLANS to use the power of the River Trent to provide electricity for 800 homes are on hold after a successful legal challenge by anglers.
The Canal and River Trust and the Small Hydro Company, wanted to build a £3m hydro-electric power plant in the river at Sawley Weir, which would provide electricity through the National Grid.
The two bodies also had plans for a similar scheme at Gunthorpe Weir which would power 1,200 homes.
But after a four-day hearing at Nottingham County Court, Fish Legal – the legal wing of the Anglers' Trust – was granted an injunction.
Fish Legal was acting for the Pride of Derby Angling Association, which had concerns over access to the river.
Anglers would have had to go through a security gate to raised metal platforms to fish, and the association said the scheme would have destroyed its 1,200 members' enjoyment.
The decision means those behind the plans must either appeal, or try and find another site with different access.
George Elliott, a member of Fish Legal, the Angling Trust and the Pride of Derby Angling Association, said: "I have fished at Sawley Weir for decades and have caught barbel, pike, carp, chub, dace, perch and roach from the weirpool. I am so pleased that we will be able to carry on fishing there in the future."
The schemes both involved propeller-type turbines in concrete channels.
A spokesman for the Canal and River Trust said: "We are disappointed by the outcome. The judge has made it clear that this case relates solely to access and the physical ability to fish from the bank in relation to a specific scheme design at this particular location – and not the quality of the fishery."
He said the judge had given permission for an appeal, and the trust was considering whether to proceed.
He added: "This includes Gunthorpe, where we have both planning permission and consent from the Environment Agency to proceed with a hydro scheme, again with Small Hydro Company."
The company has revealed plans for 25 hydro-generator stations built on rivers including the Trent and the Severn.