I’m sure I don’t need to reassert my scepticism to CO2-induced climate change – the theory is so far-fetched it’s a miracle that anyone can keep a straight face while quoting it.
Anyway, we are being force-fed the statement that we need to be using ‘renewable energy’ to produce 35-40 per cent of our electricity within the foreseeable future. To that end anything that moves is likely to have some kind of dynamo, like I had on the back wheel of my bike in primary school, strapped on to it.
The farce of applying hydro-electric schemes to the Thames weirs is that for most of the year there isn’t enough flow to turn a child’s windmill.
The EA has reneged on its promise not to invite proposals for hydropower schemes on the Thames until a test has been carried out at Romney Weir, one of the narrowest and steepest on the lower river that may even have the power of two hamsters on treadmills.
My local weir, Teddington, has even had a proposal for a hydro scheme sanctioned and the ‘investors’, a small charitable group currently working on projects such as ‘Sow a Seed’ and installing benches outside the local library, are proudly announcing that the scheme will ‘generate employment’.
I assume that those employed will be sitting on saddles, pedalling for all they are worth when there is zero flow, i.e. for 10 months of the year.
We have already had several Thames weirs altered for kayaking – slipped under the radar, that – and a completely new river, the Jubilee, dug to take flood waters away from very-expensive Maidenhead and dump them in not-so-expensive Chertsey.
Again, for most of the year it’s not a river but a series of water compounds between dry overflows.
I am delighted that the Angling Trust is punching way above its weight by badgering the EA about its broken promises. The Thames Anglers’ Conservancy www.rivertac.org is also at the forefront of protecting the lower Thames.
If your local river is threatened with similar schemes I urge you to join the Angling Trust, set up your own version of the TAC and fight for that river’s life.