Thursday, 30 October 2008

Let there be light... - (31/10)

The dark cold Derbyshire nights have certainly taken hold since the clocks went back last weekend, but visitors to The Torrs Riverside Park after dark this week will have noticed that visibility has improved somewhat.

New Mills Town Council have replaced one of the flood light units pointing towards Torrs Hydro and Torr weir leaving the area much brighter.

Visibility will improve even more over the next week as the Sycamore tree overhanging the end of the Archimedes screw and river is gong to be felled - this will also allow better visibility down to the screw (Archie...) and Torr weir from the lofty heights of the Union Road bridge.

Sunday Telegraph - (30/10)

This Sunday (2 November) Torrs Hydro will be appearing in the Sunday Telegraph Eco homes section so make sure you get your copy ordered before the weekend as I'm sure all New Mills newsagents will sell out !

Its a nice piece about the scheme and hopefully some nice pictures as they took long enough to take on a very chilly October morning in The Torrs !

The piece in the Sunday Telegraph links in very nicely with the Water Power Enterprise Settle scheme.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

River Goyt Brown Trout Monitoring Programme - (29/10)

With kind permission of the Environment Agency we publish a report based on the Brown Trout monitoring program taking place in the River Goyt -

The Environment Agency started monitoring the brown trout population in the River Goyt, upstream of New Mills in 2007. This monitoring programme is in its infancy but as it progresses over the next few years it can be used to target future projects to improve the fishery if necessary.

This report provides a summary of our findings for angling clubs, landowners and other parties interested in the status of fish populations in the River.

Survey Sites
The Brown Trout monitoring programme covers 14 sites between New Mills and Fernilee Reservoir, and includes the River Sett, Black Brook and Kinder Brook tributaries.

Trout numbers and habitat quality were estimated at each site by electric fishing and Habscore assessment, between July and August 2007.

Annual electric fishing on six sites will help us to detect changes in the number of trout young over time.

Habscore looks at the in-stream trout habitat available to hold fish and compares it to the number of fish actually caught during a survey. These two pieces of information are then used to calculate how well a river meets its potential to support and hold trout.

Habscore assessments and further electric fishing will be carried out every six years, to see whether the river is reaching its full potential as a trout fishery.

Fish recorded
A total of 506 Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) were caught across the 14 combined sites.

Perch (Perca fluvialitilis) and Grayling (Thymallus thymallus) were also recorded, but

at only one site (Whaley Bridge). Brook lamprey were also recorded at one site, on the main River Goyt near to Lodge Wood.

Brown trout lengths, age and growth

The following length frequency histogram provides a good picture of the overall make up of the trout population on the Goyt.

The first peak in fish lengths was recorded between 50mm to 90mm, which corresponds to this years fry. Large numbers of one year old fish are also evident, showing that survival during the first year has been good. However, under normal conditions, we would expect more fry to be present than one year old fish.

River Goyt trout had an ‘average’ growth rate compared to our national standard for brown trout (National Fisheries Technical Team, unpublished data), with a Percentage Standard Growth (PSG) value of 107%.

This indicates normal growth rates within the trout populations surveyed and reflects a stable, sustainable upland river trout population.

In order to assess fish populations, The National Fisheries Classification Scheme splits brown trout densities into two categories, those that hatched this year (0+ fry) and those that are older. The density of these two groups recorded during our surveys shown below.

The maps clearly show low numbers of trout fry, though the numbers of older fish were distributed more naturally. Despite the low numbers of fry, the greatest numbers of trout were found in the upper reaches of the Sett and Black Brook. This is consistent with the trout’s use of the smaller brooks for spawning and nursery areas.

Our surveys found that the older fish were dominated by one-year-olds that had hatched in 2006. This distribution is also illustrated by the length frequency histogram shown on the previous page, where 1+ trout were the most common age class seen.

This suggests that the 2007 spawning season had not been as successful as the previous year. Though we don’t know why this happened, the heavy summer floods in the catchment may have displaced smaller fish downstream.

Overall our Habscore assessments showed that there are enough habitats within the river to support more fish.

Trout productivity in the Goyt could be limited by poor water quality, a lack of adult brood stock or the action of impassable weirs which stop adults reaching good spawning areas.

This is the first year that electric fishing surveys of the brown trout population have been carried out upstream of New Mills. Fish populations can be very variable and definite conclusions should not been drawn from a single years data.

Having said that, our surveys showed fewer brown trout fry than expected on the River Goyt. The numbers of fry recorded were below that predicted by Habscore and that suggested for the previous year by the numbers of one-year-olds identified.

The Habscore analysis indicated that there is potential for further improvement in fish stocks, but numbers are likely limited by water quality or barriers to movement.

As more surveys are carried over the following years a clearer understanding of the fisheries performance will be possible. Of particular interest will be the number of fry caught in 2008, as this will help us determine the significance of the low numbers recorded in 2007.

Angling clubs and members of the public should;

• Notify the Environment Agency of any pollution incidents or illegal fishing activity taking place in watercourses, or of any discharges that may cause pollution using our Free phone Incident Hotline number - 0800 807060.
• Notify the Environment Agency of any information you may have about poaching or illegal fishing activities using our intelligence email address or using the free phone number above.
• Take part in the new Environment Agency Angling log book scheme, which will provide more data to help us to accurately determine the health of our fish populations. For more information please contact Ian Wood on 08708 506 506.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

We found the tree... - (27/10)

Well its in two big pieces now and causing damage as it heads downstream towards Marple. First reports suggested part of it had knocked down part of a foot bridge that crosses the River Goyt and sure enough its made a bit of a mess and the bridge needs some hefty repairs which the Derbyshire Park rangers are on to it already as they had already started to refurbish the bridge recently..

The other part of the tree is wrapped around a pipe across the Rover Goyt and New Mills Town Council have passed this info on to Transco to see if they are concerned at the potential damage this could cause to the pipe.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Has anyone seen a tree ? - (26/10)

Lots of water overnight Saturday night/Sunday morning left us slightly awash in the Torrs today, it has at last moved the enormous tree down river but it looks like the tree may have caused some damage to a footbridge about half a mile down stream, pictures of this to follow some stage tomorrow.

The height of the water meant that our control system automatically shut the screw down as a precaution, and with water still spilling over the top of the closed sluice gate this evening it will be Monday morning before we attempt to start the screw again.

Lots of debris that had become stuck in the fish pass has been cleared to allow the fish a clear passage upstream to spawn.

The wrong leaves - (25/10)

Autumn is a great time for walking and enjoying the outdoors, especially down in the Torrs Riverside Park - beautiful golden colours from the many trees all along the banks of the Rivers Sett and Goyt.

One challenge it does give us though is that they gradually clog up the intake to the screw and slowly over the course of a few days reduce the output of electricity.

Whats needed a couple of times a week whilst the leaves are falling is a quick visit from the team, don the waders and quickly remove the leaves and in the space of 10-15 minutes output rises as the flow of water through the screw increases.

Friday, 24 October 2008

AGM - (23/10)

Our shareholders will be pleased to hear that the Torrs Hydro New Mills AGM has now been arranged to take place on Saturday 29 November 2008.

The formal AGM papers will be posted to shareholders in a week’s time.

We have arranged our first AGM for Saturday 29th November, at the Revival Church on High Street, New Mills - which is a fantastic venue.

Doors open at 10:30am, start at 11am, scheduled end 1pm. Tea, Coffee and nibbles will be available.
Immediately after the AGM, there will be Torrs Hydro representatives at the scheme to show you around and answer any questions you might have.

If you are planning on stopping over and need accommodation, we suggest you contact the New Mills Heritage Centre (Tel: 01663 746904) or check their website - accommodation is under “local information”

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Its a boy ! - (18/10)

With the voting finishing yesterday and with 41% of the votes the Torrs Hydro New Mills Archimedes screw now has a name "Archie" !
I'm sure it will catch on very quickly - next step is to get a nice name sign plaque.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Oil change - (17/10)

What a busy day - it was like an old school reunion down in the Torrs with lots of the project team down on site to do some maintenance (oil change, fitting rubbers to the top of the screw blades, update the computer software to name but a few items.

It was great to see Chris and Yvette Elliot from WRE again and we are now masters at changing the oil in the gearbox.

Also on site today were Steve Lewis who is the Parks and Gardens Manager for New Mils Town Council and he will be working closely with us over the next few weeks to complete the landscaping and safety fencing of the site - I'm sure you'll all be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Fowl play - (16/10)

Some more great footage from Ken showing Dippers and Goosanders at play slightly upriver from the Torr weir - some other interesting finds as well as some footage of the Torrs Hydro apples !

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Bobbing for apples - (15/10)

Well spotted by the group of ramblers who stopped off to have a tour of the screw earlier today, but what did they spot ?

Hundreds and hundreds of apples that have travelled down the rivers Sett and Goyt (it was harvest time recently) and are now bobbing around contently around the sluice gate

One suggestion was to perhaps make some Torrs Hydro cider - not this year anyway... as I expect them to get washed down towards the River Mersey when the rains come this evening.

Carbon emmision calculator - (14/10)

When you think about the root of what 'everyone' should be trying to achieve by creating or using renewable energy its in an attempt to reduce Carbon emissions which are thought to have a detrimental effect on global climate change.

Its only when you spend a little time calculating how much Carbon you or your family use annually do you get to realise how unnecessary some of it all is.

The best Carbon calculator I have found is one at it will only take you a few minutes to work out how much you create annually and I am sure you will be surprised at how big a figure it actually is !

Monday, 13 October 2008

Dont forget your brolly - (13/10)

With over two inches of rain due during the day tomorrow (Tuesday) there's the possibility that the large tree and 'half' boat currently causing an obstruction below the weir will be moved slightly further down river - what might also happen is the other half of the boat (a Sandpiper) that is currently half a mile upriver near Goytside meadows will be washed down to join the other half over the Goyt weir - anyone know whose boat it is ?

20 MWh and counting - (12/10)

Earlier today we passed through the 20MWh barrier and by the end of tomorrow will have produced as much electricity in October as we did for the whole of September.

Just think of all those carbon emissions saved !
Although to put it into perspective the equivalent of almost a quarter of all the electricity currently produced per day by the Torrs Hydro New Mills screw is used in the people of New Mills leaving their TV's switched on standby overnight !

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Name that screw - (11/10)

With over five days left for voting we already have a leader in the voting to give your screw a name - but its not too late to vote so look to the right of your screen and choose your favourite.

Many of you have asked about the half boat and enormous tree just below the weir and will it cause a problem with the screw or block the fish pass - we have discussed it with the Environment Agency who will shortly survey how much of a blockage the tree is causing and take appropriate action.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Trees and boats - (09/10)

Over the past few weeks we have seen many things passing down the River Sett and Goyt (traffic cones, bikes, shopping trolleys, microwaves to name but a few), but earlier this week we were amazed to see floating down the Goyt half a boat !

It was still floating until it came up against the power of the Torr Weir at which point it disintegrated considerably.

The previous day the biggest tree I have ever seen float down the river made its way slowly over the weir and has now 'parked' temporarily just below the weir - the tree is about 40ft in length and must weigh several tonnes - the power of water !

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Environment Agency - (07/10)

As part of our work with the Environment Agency we have undertaken a photographic study of the weir and also the intake area around the Torrs Hydro scheme.

These shots will be taken on a weekly basis (many thanks to Rob for volunteering his services) and should help to highlight any seasonal changes in the river.

The pictures can be viewed at where we currently have two weeks worth.

Dave Brown from the EA has also produced a Geomorpholigical site investigation report on the area and copies will be kept on site, in the New Mills Heritage Centre, New Mills library and the Town Hall for reference.

I must point out how helpful the whole of the EA have been throughout this project and how invaluable their advice has been.

Monday, 6 October 2008

River Sett - (06/10)

Last week we covered the main artery into Torrs Hydro the River Goyt and today we will cover the smaller River Sett which although smaller can rose and fall much quicker than the Goyt.

A relatively short river of less than ten miles the River Sett is flows through the High Peak borough of Derbyshire, in north western England. It rises near Edale Cross on Kinder Scout and flows through the villages of Hayfield and Birch Vale to join the River Goyt at New Mills. The river traditionally was used by many of the mills and businesses along the river and once it had flowed off Kinder was quite polluted, this has now changed and the Sett is home to many fish and fresh water birds.

Because of its catchment area of the Kinder plateau the river can be extremely peaty and carries large amounts of silt on its journey down to the Goyt, the river can also rise very quickly and even in the past week has been seen to rise 9-12 inches in 30-45 minutes.

Where the Sett and Goyt meet just above the weir you can see a noticeable difference in the colours of the river.

The River Sett flowing through the centre of Hayfield

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The name game - (4/10)

We've talked for many weeks now of finding a suitable name for our screw and we now have a list of contenders - if you look to the right hand side of the blog you will see where you are able to vote for them, so here goes and in no particular order :-

Nathem (New Archimidean Torrs Hydro Electric Mills' Screw) suggested By Ron Toothill
Old Mill Water Powerhouse by anon
Archie suggested by Lloyd Hanlon, Ranger Will and Sean
Portunus - The Roman River God - suggested by Vera L Mellor
Threadtastik - suggested by Aaron Sabate age 12
Archi suggested by Denise Dugdale
Twister suggested by Denise Dugdale
Archie Medes suggested by Bill Owen

I'm not sure on a suitable prize for the winner yet, perhaps they get to crack open the bottle of champagne (or something a bit more environmentally friendly) when we have a naming ceremony !
We will keep the voting open for a couple of weeks - so get voting !

September - electricity produced - (03/10)

Some stats for September -

Total number of production days 16 :
14 days non production made up of,

8 days due to unplanned maintenance, lower bearing flange (15/9 to 22/9)
2 days shutdown due to HSE request (30/9 to 2/10)
4 days prior to planned switch on (4/9)

Total electricity produced 11.1 MWh :

694.4 kWh average per production day (16)
370.4 kWh average per calendar day (30)

28.9 kW per hour per production day (16)
15.4 kW per hour per calendar day (30)

Lights, camera and action ! (02/10)

With the temporary fencing now safely installed (another thing to add to mine and Maggie's CV's) the screw is now making great use of the high water in the rivers.

We had a visit from Science teacher Mr Quinn from New Mills School and a team of his Y9 pupils today who our doing some great work relating to the Torrs Hydro system and as part of this work will be doing some investigative journalism (they were really well kitted out with cameras and video equipment), perhaps we may have some budding newsreaders amongst - we look forward to their return visit next week.

Later this week I will list the potential names for your screw and we can have a little vote.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Fencing - (01/10)

No entry - (not really...)

We've been listening to many voices over the last couple of weeks on the aspect of health and safety and in particular how the fencing will look when the site is completed.

Some of you where aghast at the thought of a high security fence around the site (as where we...), but our main concern has to be one of health and safety.

With that in mind we have agreed a two stage approach to safety and fence in and around the screw : Tomorrow morning, if it ever stops raining, some temporary (not pretty, but it does the job) fencing will be erected directly around the tail race of the screw which the HSE agree mitigates any immediate danger - this will be in place until we install some panelling to cover the tail race.

Secondary to that over the next few weeks we will install a boundary fence at the top of the existing slope to run from near to the existing black fence to just before the engine house - this will be dual purpose in marking the boundary between the 'access' and 'no access' areas whilst also enabling visitors to still see the screw in motion, the final piece of fencing will mitigate any risk to the public near to the screw intake.

We have always planned a fence and where working with the Town Council and planners to install this but have had to move this forward more quickly as a handful of passersby had voiced their concern to the HSE and High Peak Borough safety officers.

We believe, as do the HSE, we have reached a good compromise in keeping the site visible whilst also covering our health and safety obligations to the public.