Heavy rain leads to Whalley Hydro delay

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Villagers will be watching next Tuesday as a 40ft long piece of machinery is lowered into a channel which has been specially excavated next to the River Calder for an eco-electricity scheme.

The Archimedean screw – a modern development of the machine devised by Archimedes for raising water – is the mechanism which transforms the power of the river into electricity as the weight of water turns it.

The local social enterprise company Whalley Community Hydro is having it installed on the Billington side of the weir at Whalley.

Measuring 12m long, 3.6m diameter and weighing 13 tonnes, the screw was designed and manufactured by Spaans Babcock Ltd and built in the Netherlands. It is due to arrive about 9am and a crane will lower it into the river between 11am and noon.

It had been due to be installed this Thursday but heavy rains brought down silt which had to be removed.

“This is a great day for Whalley Community Hydro,” said Whalley Hydro director and project supervisor Bill Wilkinson.

“Our principal contractor, Spaans Babcock of Heywood, and civil engineers William Pye of Longridge, have done excellent work in keeping us on track for handover in November.”

Apart from providing hydro-electricity, the screw will also improve the ecology of the River Calder. Its design incorporates an improved fish pass, which allows fish and young eels to travel

upstream more easily to the upper reaches of the river.

The public will be able to watch the whole operation from the bridge over the River Calder in the village and from the public footpath on the Whalley side of the weir.

Cars are not permitted down the track to the site, but there are car parks in the village.

The project is costing £750,000, and £439,000 has been raised so far by a share issue. For details, visit www.whalleyhydro.co.uk