Bradford Council’s hydro scheme branded ‘vanity project’

BRADFORD Council has been accused of pursuing a “vanity project” over plans for a £1.1m scheme to generate electricity from the river Aire at Saltaire.

The city council has now submitted a full planning application for the construction of an Archimedes screw ‘hydropower’ scheme at Salts Mill weir.

A report by consultants said the sale of electricity would generate up to £1.8m of income over 20 years, with maintenance costs estimated at £78,000.

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The scheme would pay for itself after 11-14 years, according to JBA Consulting, advisers to the council.

But critics among more than 50 objectors have claimed the scheme would damage the tranquillity and setting of Roberts Park.

Saltaire Angling Association has vowed to take legal action to protect fishing rights. Friends of Roberts Park are also objecting.

A report to be discussed by councillors on Wednesday, April 29, includes comments from unnamed objectors.

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One objector called the scheme “nothing more than a vanity project” while another said it was “another complete and utter waste of council money”.

Twenty people contacted the council to back the plan, saying it was a chance for the council to show leadership in clean, renewable energy generation.

Planners are recommending the scheme be approved.