Increasing the fish print and reducing the footprint
Work on a key environmental scheme to protect salmon stocks in West Devon is due to start later this summer.
The Environment Agency and South West Water are joining forces to construct automatic screening devices on the existing intake at Abbey Weir, preventing smaller fish escaping into the leat system that serves Mary Tavy and Morwellham hydro power stations near Tavistock.
The scheme is part of a broader Environment Agency initiative to improve the ecology of the River Tavy and protect salmon stocks, which are widely regarded as a key indicator of the health of a river.
Improvements will also help secure the future of the green renewable power produced by South West Water's hydro plants, which combined produce enough energy for over 4,000 homes.
South West Water's Water Treatment Manager Mark Beighton said: "South West Water is committed to securing the future of its hydro power sources and ensuring that the green renewable energy we produce does not impact upon wildlife and river ecology."
Bruce Newport for the Environment Agency said "These voluntary changes are of fundamental importance to the recovery of salmon stocks in the Tavy and we are very pleased that South West Water is working with us on this initiative."
Due to the scale of this project South West Water and the Environment Agency have been working closely with Tavistock Town Council, English Heritage and riparian owners to make sure the work causes minimal inconvenience.
The work itself will commence on 30 July for 12 weeks and will be carried out by the Environment Agency, as they have significant expertise on river based engineering projects. As work of this nature can only be undertaken when the river is low, construction has been scheduled for the summer months.
To thank Tavistock for its patience and cooperation, the footpath will not be closed until after the Tavistock Food Fair on 28 July and then reopened in time for Goose Fair on 9 October. SWW and the EA will also carry out additional environmental improvements to the river and footpath and support Tavistock in a number of local educational initiatives.
South West Water and the Environment Agency are committed to protecting the environment without threatening renewable energy. The River Tavy initiative will help Tavistock reduce its carbon footprint, while proactively enhancing the health of the river and achieving the perfect balance between renewable energy and the ecological improvement.
Notes to editors
South West Water's hydro power schemes currently prevent 4-5 thousand tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year.
South West Water now generates 5.73 MW of energy through hydro electric power and 1.46 MW through Combined Heat and Power (CHP –biogas). This combined energy production is enough to power a town with a population of over 12,000 people. Mary Tavy hydro power station alone generating one third of the company's green energy.
Published on: 20 July 2007