Sir – Many people cross the River Thames weir at Abingdon and wonder if the water flow might be put to good use.

Abingdon Hydro was set up to use that power to generate hydroelectricity. We had fantastic support from local people. The directors finally had to decide that the dream of renewable energy could not be realised, to the disappointment of local investors who raised a considerable amount (over £800,000) to construct it. Finances and time were against us.

We waited for the results of the tenders to be returned by the contractors but in the end they were just too expensive to progress with the scheme.

The risk of delays during the construction also meant that our income projections were potentially jeopardised and the scheme would then have become unviable.

We started clearing the site last February. This was done before the bird nesting season, to be ready for when construction was due to start.

Only two trees and a sapling were felled, alder and sycamores. One alder, hollow and rotten, which could have come down in a strong wind, had been carefully checked to ensure that it was not a bat habitat.

The area quickly regenerated vegetation after clearance, but as we are not going ahead with construction, we are eager to put something back to the site.

We are currently in discussion with the owners (Vale of White Horse District Council) so that we may have permission to plant some trees. However this will be limited in scope since we are currently making arrangements to return monies to the investors.

Penny Clover
Abingdon Hydro